I struggle to take vacations. When I do take them, more than half of the time, I end up coming back to my Church to worship. Last year I spent one Sunday away from my Church family.
One of the most recent trends is for a preacher to only speak about forty times a year at the Church where they are on staff. The goal is to keep the preacher fresh and spiritually healthy while developing a team of speakers. My only problem with this approach has been a single question, “Do you still attend your Church when you are not preaching?” That question usually ends up with this pastor telling me they are always doing something productive for the kingdom on Sunday morning. The short answer is no.
This bothers me to my very core. How can we expect people to value the community if we don’t? If we only attend the Church we lead three times a month; there is a problem, in my opinion. We should never expect our people to be in attendance more than we are.
Let me explain my thinking. You see, this is not just the Church I get paid to lead; this is my faith community. This is where my Christian friends attend. These people love me, encourage me, support me, and stand beside me as the family of God. We cry together and we laugh together. For this reason, I enjoy preaching here every week, and I attend, even if I am not speaking. Yes, my wife will attest that there are seasons I need to take some time off to clear my head, but it not because I have no desire to be in worship together.
Recently, I took a vacation, and on the second Sunday I was off, I came back to be a part of worship here. As I shook people’s hands, everyone said the say type of thing, “We didn’t expect to see you today.” I was a little more than surprised at people’s responses.
I am here today to tell people that as a preacher, I love my Church family. Just like I enjoy being with my own family as much as possible, I delight in being with the people in my faith community. I am not saying this because I think I am more spiritual than other pastors or better than anyone who calls on the name of the Lord. I simply want my Church to know you are my family in the faith, and I want to be with you.
I hope and pray you will want to be with me also. If so, I will see you Sunday.