Forgetting it All
In some conversations I've had with youth workers, one thing is often discussed; frequently the youth worker is the whipping boy (whipping person?) for the senior pastor. The youth person gets to do all the scut work that the pastor doesn't want to do or doesn't like to do. The senior pastor makes fun of the youth worker in public. The pastor never pays attention to the youth or the youth worker unless there is a problem. The list goes on and on and on.
But then many youth workers go on to become senior pastors... me included.
And it seems that often (we) forget it all. It reminds me of a time in fraternity life. It was during "health" week, and during one particular dinner, we pledges provided "entertainment" in which we primarily made fun of the active brothers. Now (as we expected), we got pelted with food. But what we didn't expect was later, when we had another event in which we were drenched with beer. Now, the beer wasn't supposed to be part of the event, but some of the brothers were drinking from a keg, and some of them wanted "revenge" for how we'd made fun of them earlier, so somebody threw a cup of beer. I personally got doused for lampooning a brother with a "dance" (complete with that brother's favorite shirt, stuffed with a pillow). Then we got to clean up the mess.
The next year when this event came along, it was much worse than my year had been. Whereas they had a keg available (mostly for drinking), that year there was a "dead" keg... for throwing. Each brother with a "pledge son" (including me) was given an entire pitcher of flat beer to pour on his son (I invited my pledge son "Rockhead" into the kitchen and poured mine down the drain while he watched; I told him, "That was supposed to go on you."). It was awful.
The worst part was that my class, the ones who had so hated being doused with beer the previous year, was the group who was throwing the most beer. The excuse? "They did it to me, and now it's my turn."
Eventually (possibly the next year), this practice was finally done away with.
But my thought on it is that when we've been mistreated in a church, especially by a pastor, then when we become pastors, the worst possible thing for us to do is to turn into the same miserable person who tortured us.