Lonely Leadership and Tender Hearts
Yesterday morning I mentioned the fact that being a pastor is lonely. I wasn't saying it to do the whole "poor me" thing - I don't feel sorry for myself and I have learned that leadership can be lonely - not just as a pastor, but in other places of leadership as well.(If you want a well-written article about lonely pastors, complete with statistics, here to read one). I was quoting Erwin McManus, who said, "ironically the less genuine community we have, the more we create artificial communities.”
Honestly, several times I have started and discarded a blog post about loneliness...
Anyway, I made this statement and then went on. After the second service, someone came up to me and said, "I'm ashamed; you've been here two years and I haven't had your family to my house." then went on to suggest a cook out later this spring/summer. And thought of several other people to invite.
First of all, it just sounded like a good idea - I like cook outs and hanging out. But as I was thinking about it more, it was a demonstration of how tender some people's hearts are. The point of using myself as an illustration was simply to show that many people create artificial community, but this person heard "my pastor is lonely" - and immediately came to the conclusion: ... and I can do something about it!"
This is a great reminder to me of how wonderful some people are. When we went to New Knoxville, there were a couple of people (you know who you are) who absolutely went out of their way to make us feel welcome, to make us feel like part of their families (including inviting us over for traditional "family" holidays). They remain special people in my heart.
It's also a reminder of how powerful the words spoken from the pulpit can be. I pray that as I continue to preach, that I will continue to listen to the Holy Spirit, giving me the words to speak.