Where are we headed?
All of this is just another stressful day at work for me. But given the direction in which society is headed, other ministers may get to experience some of these same scenarios, and some already are.
I’ve heard horror stories from other pastors who have a higher-than-normal profile. One had a critic post large “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters of him around town. Another received a letter containing photos of his home along with a threat to rape his wife. Another had critics waiting to cuss him out at his child’s school since they could not get a meeting through his office. The list goes on and on and on and on.
The complexity of diminished safety that technology brings is unprecedented in the history of the world. What will things look like in 20 or 30 years if the culture continues to trend less friendly toward faith in urban areas, and if technology continues to encroach on privacy and civility?
I predict we’ll increasingly have to “evangelize through suffering,” as I put it at the end of A Call to Resurgence. It’s hard to think about this without getting anxious.
When people learn that my concern for family safety is the most difficult part of my ministry, I usually get the follow up question: Why don’t you just quit and go do something else or go do ministry somewhere else?
Honestly, I’ve pondered that question myself on the darker days. I love my family. I love Jesus—and so does my family. I love our church—and so does my family. And I love our city—and so does my family.
On average, we have seen 100 people get baptized every month for about the last five years. We are seeing lives change, and we find great joy in that. That said, I do all I can to care for my family and protect them, without being paranoid, and the truth is, if I were not called to this line of work, I would quit.
Yes, sadly this question is all too easy for me to answer, so your prayers are appreciated. I just turned 43. Lord willing, we have decades of ministry left to go, and honestly, if I think about it too much I get depressed and anxious. For those ministering in similar contexts, I’m earnestly praying for you and your families as well.
What part of your ministry is the most difficult?