Home > Ministry > Why me? Why here?

Why me? Why here?

(This is my second post about my journey in and out and eventually back into ministry.  To read the others, go to the “ministry’ category.)

I gave my notice to Eolian and transitioned to this new church.  My expectations were sky high.  We would make an immediate impact on the neighborhood and community.  People would begin flocking to this church.  Lives would be changed.  People would find hope and grace amidst the chaos of life.  It was gonna be incredible.

Did I feel this way because of my ability?


I felt this way because of the events that had transpired to bring me to this church.  I didn’t want to be there.  They believed I should be their pastor.  They prayed.  Nothing else.  They never made any contact with in any way shape or form.  They just prayed.  Eventually, I began to reconsider my initial decline of their offer, and then I accepted their offer.  Since God had seemed to be so intricately involved in orchestrating these events, I figured he must’ve had something significant in mind for me and this church.

In the beginning, the church had about twenty people or so.  And, I quickly learned, a portion of these people had proven adept at creating messes in their lives.

My worldview proved to be relatively simplistic at this point in my life.  People inside the church had their lives together, while those outside the church experienced chaos in their lives.  It seemed rational enough to me.  People in the church had God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and so much more so they should be able to avoid the mistakes that caused such chaos.  At the very least, they should at least know those things that needed to change in their lives and have a desire for that change to occur.

I had a lot to learn.

A lot.

My learning started soon.

Being a Baptist church, we gathered for a prayer meeting on Wednesday nights.  On one of those first Wednesday nights, my education began.  I stood before the small gathering of people and asked if anyone had any prayer requests.  One man, who attended sporadically, raised his hand.

“I would like for everyone to pray that my wife and kids would come back home.  She left this week and went to stay with her parents.  I miss them and would like for God to bring them back.”

Sounds like an honorable enough prayer request, right?

There was just one problem.  He sat there, asking us to pray for God to bring his family back home, while he sat next to a woman so closely you couldn’t have slipped a piece of paper between them.  He had his arm wrapped around her as she snuggled up against him.

I stood there, speechless and flabbergasted that he would have the audacity to ask for such a thing.  Didn’t he know any better?  Didn’t he realize why his wife had left, because of his likely affair with this woman?  My head spun as I had no idea what to say or do.

To add to the dysfunction, the woman snuggled up to him didn’t seem to be the least bit bothered by his prayer request.

This is not how I imagined life at this church would go.  Besides, spiritual issues, I discovered that people had relational baggage, family problems, health issues, and financial struggles.  People had hurt and offended one another, but did nothing about it, allowing the pain and the anger to fester.  Families didn’t talk to one another, and some children were openly hostile to their parents.  Few people could give because they were barely getting by themselves, burdened with debt or inconsistent work.

I began to realize that this is life.

And this is church, to help people with life.

But I was a twenty-one year old kid trying to lead them.  We had a lot of problems to deal with, and I had no idea where to start or even what to do.

One question started popping up in my mind, “Why had God orchestrated events to lead me to this church?”

Week in and week out, church continued while life happened.  One of the elderly members passed away after a difficult battle with cancer.  Many in the church had known her for years and her death affected them individually as well as a whole.  Another man broke both his arms in a freak accident.  Others became more sporadic in their attendance while some quit coming altogether.  As a small church, this drop in attendance and participation dramatically affected us.  Fewer people meant that the brunt of the work fell to an ever decreasing minority in the church.  With even less people in attendance, the offerings plummeted while the expenses, already at the bare minimum, remained the same.

Whenever a visitor would attend, they never returned for a second visit.  Once they stepped foot inside the church and saw the small group of people gathered together, a concerned look emerged in their eye.  “What have I gotten myself into?” or “What is wrong with this place that so few people are here?”

Or maybe I had projected my thoughts onto them because I’d thought the same thing.

I did not know what to do.  We were running out of money, and when that happened, we wouldn’t be able to pay the electric bill or my very small salary.  Very small.  I had friends who made double what I did, working a part-time office jobs, putting in less hours than I did.  If we didn’t start to grow soon, we would have to close the doors.

I resolved to do what I already knew, which wasn’t much, but I would do more of it.

I worked harder and longer.

Six weeks later, when my efforts had proved fruitless, I resolved to work even harder.

And harder.

And harder and harder.

Nothing changed.  We seemed to be stuck in a downward spiral.

Categories: Ministry
  1. Pam McCool
    February 4, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Keep on writing. You are really good. Love, Mom

  2. February 5, 2011 at 1:50 am

    i havent been to church for a long time the local church is to ruff to goto i goto the cathedrall still in town like its a good place to get just a little bit quite and you can ask god as many questions as you want the more you ask the more ansers he gives you back

    • February 5, 2011 at 8:48 am

      Thanks for your comments and for reading. You’re right, sometimes you need a place to get away so that you can ask those questions of God.


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