Recently I attended a luncheon on “Crisis in Ministry.” This luncheon included a panel discussion about handling the issues that come up in ministry. The panel included leaders from Baptist churches, Community churches, and others. I attended to learn how these men handle issues that are common to those that serve in ministry across the board. There were some things that they face that I do not, for example, I do not hire and fire staff or oversee the budget. We have elders and deacons that take care of those things. However, there are similarities. We all stand up before a group people multiple times a week and preach or teach a message. We all try to minister to people in different areas of need (physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.). We all love people and want to be loved by them.
After thinking about this luncheon and reflecting on some of the things people have said to me over the years, I recalled this poem that I shared back in 2009.
This is for you, my fellow ministers.
When I Preach
When I preach, there are some who say
They could listen to me all day.
Others think I preach too long.
And some think I go about it wrong.
Some say my sermon is much too deep.
To others, it’s shallow and they go to sleep.
Some report I hold them spell bound,
While others squirm and look around.
Some speak of me as an orator,
But others feel I’m a perfect bore.
Some believe I have no light,
And others think I preach just right.
Some affirm that I’m too bold,
Others wink and say I’m cold.
Some used to say I was much too young.
But others declare my spring has sprung!
Some folks tell I have met success.
Others think my work is a mess.
Some have said my pay is too low,
When they discover the pace I go.
Still others say it is above the peak,
“Why he only works three hours a week.”
From all this, ’tis plain to see.
That as a preacher, I’m up a tree.
Condemned if I do, condemned if I don’t;
Criticized if I will, criticized if I won’t.
I can’t please men of such discord,
So I’ll just keep trying to please the Lord.