Does Your Pastor Have A Bodyguard?

What a thrill to have Tammy Helfrich guest post for us today! She’s a wife, Mom, daughter and friend. She blogs about life, marriage, encouragement, and LifeChanger, motivating stories. She loves connecting with people, and rallying people around a good cause and is committed to helping others realize that their voice matters, and to embrace their story. You can read her blog at http://www.tammyhelfrich.com and follow her on Twitter @tammyhelfrich

Does your Pastor have a bodyguard?

Mine doesn’t. I have heard of Pastors who do. I find it a little strange, although I know there are well known Pastors with huge followings who might need one. So far, mine hasn’t. But it does make me chuckle a little to think about it.

Although he doesn’t need a bodyguard, I am learning that he needs something else. He needs people to protect him. With prayer, encouragement, love, and understanding of the incredible time and life commitment he and his family give to us. Of course, other than prayer, he has not asked for this. And your Pastor probably hasn’t either. If he has been lucky, he has been getting this from his inner circle of friends and close community members. But, I think it should trickle down farther. I think our church communities should do a much better job.

Someone said, ”We need to protect our pastor and his family”, to me recently. I have always believed that, but over the last few years, I have come to understand how important it is.

I often have the opportunity to speak with new families about what makes our church so unique. Most people are typically drawn to our Pastor and his teaching very quickly. He is dynamic, honest, and extremely relational. I remember feeling the same way when I first started attending.

And then came the first summer. The summer is when he takes extended time off. I remember for the first few years, I dreaded summer at church. Because I knew he wasn’t going to be teaching every week. I knew why he takes the time off. He does it to reconnect with God, relax, spend more time with his family, and reset his thinking and priorities. But back then, it didn’t matter to me. I didn’t like it. I preferred his teaching over others. I liked his funny stories. I always got something out of his message. That was not always true with some of the other people teaching.

And then one day it hit me.

All of those things were about ME.

I wasn’t thinking about him.

I wasn’t thinking about the amount of time he spends preparing his message each week.

I wasn’t thinking about the countless hours he spends with the staff preparing for each series and teaching to be impactful.

I wasn’t thinking about all of the thousands of things he does that go along with his profession.

I wasn’t thinking about how he doesn’t have a Monday through Friday job which only asks for 40 hours a week.

I wasn’t thinking about the sacrifices his family makes so that he can do what he does.

He is a Pastor.

His job could go on 24/7 every day if he allowed it.

And quite honestly, I was choosing my attitude towards the other people speaking. I was determining that I wouldn’t get anything out of their message. And it wasn’t fair.

I have gotten to know my Pastor and his family pretty well. I absolutely love their hearts and where they are leading this amazing community of people. And I now realize how much he and his family need a break from leading. He needs to be able to step away, and spend quality time with his family. He needs to silence all of the noise, and truly spend more time with God. I have watched him learn to adjust his schedule to do this more throughout the year, but the summer is the time when he can really focus on that. They have learned what they need to avoid burnout. And I think that is wonderful.

This year, he and his family are taking a long trip to Thailand. And I am so excited for them. As I think about what it will do for them to be out of the country, spending time together and planning the adventures that await them, I can’t help but smile. I know what they have invested in our community in order to make it what it is. And it has not been easy. Now it is our turn to invest back in them. To help them know how much they are truly appreciated. To give them time to rest.

This advice isn’t just for my church family. You can easily apply it to your Pastor and his family. My heart aches when I read stories of Pastors and how they are treated by their own church community. The fighting and struggle and heartbreak is sometimes unimaginable. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Does your Pastor understand the value of taking a break?

What do you think of the idea of protecting our Pastors?

You may have noticed we have a new look at apples of gold.  Things are plugging along for Barnabas House: plans for a video promo, final preparations are being made for filing our 501(c)(3) paperwork, increased traffic on the Facebook page, and we sent our first couple on a weekend getaway.  Exciting days!

The Climb

I’m a list maker, just ask my family.  I make lists for the grocery store, camping trips, replacement parts for cars and camper, goals, steps in those goals, “honey-do” tasks, ad nauseum.  They mock me, but I stand strong!  Lists are a comfort and encouragement for me.  I can see what I need to do and I actually rejoice when I can cross things off my teuxdeux  list.  Truth be told, sometimes I even add things to the list after I’ve done them, just so I can cross them off!

The reality is that list making is my way of driving one more piton into the mountain I’m climbing.  It allows me to look back at the pitons below when it seems the mountain top isn’t any closer than when I started.

The only problem with this perspective is that it completely eliminates joy in the journey.  It makes reaching the top the only point at which joy happens.  Dissatisfaction rules when my focus is on the climb.  Even though I’ve arrived at such-and-such accomplishment, I haven’t made it to the end yet.  I can’t afford to rest, because there is so much left to do.  And the little voice in my head says, “and you’re the only one that’s gonna do it.”  It’s a bitter and lonely place.

What’s working in my heart, what I hear the Father say, is that I need to find the joy in the journey.  See the others that are climbing and join the fellowship.  Encourage, rejoice, share, and even rest.  These are actually the things that bring me life anyway!  I LOVE to be with people!  Family camp has been a treasured part of my life because of the five uninterrupted days of this.

Perhaps my perspective needs to change from a mountain climb to The Canterbury Tales.  Remember back to 9th grade English?  Chaucer wrote about the individuals traveling together on a pilgrimage.  It was a long journey, but as they walked, each one told their tale to connect and make the time pass.  I’ve recently found a group that is doing just this.  We share our stories, our progress, our disppointments and frustrations, our joys.  We encourage each other, we fill in each other’s blogs when life intervenes.  I’m enjoying this group so much that it almost seems like we’re not traveling.  I suspect, though, that one day we will unexpectedly arrive at our destination.  And joy will be in the journey.  And the stories that we told will be as sweet a treasure as the reaching the goal we set.  It’s a good thing.

Are you climbing the mountain alone or are you a part of the fellowship of a pilgrimage?

The Climb

Why you should care

We’ve all seen stories on the news of scandals involving pastors and church leaders. It’s easy to shake our heads and wonder how they could fail so miserably, but consider this:

Research shows that 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor, while 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors. Is it any wonder, then, that 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches?*

Have you ever stopped to think about how this problem affects you? Even those of you who don’t attend religious services realize that we are spiritual beings in need of a spiritual connection, and understand the positive impact churches have on their communities. Most of us have taken our children to vacation bible school, received comfort from a pastor at a funeral, or had a pastor bless us at our wedding.

What happens when those who lead us in these areas are hurting and broken? They limp along until they no longer can—until their families are destroyed and the church closes its doors, leaving communities without help and without hope.

In the situation of a plane crash, the prevailing wisdom is for the parent to take oxygen first, and then give the child oxygen. The reasoning is that if the parent collapses, the child will have no one to take care of them. It goes against our instincts because everything within us wants to save our children first. Isn’t that the perfect picture of pastors? They have a heart to care for their communities, but often they are so busy caring for others that they neglect themselves and collapse. If you could give them oxygen, wouldn’t you do so?

I am nominating Barnabas House of Oklahoma, Inc. because their passion is to step in and help pastors before discouragement destroys their ministries, their lives and the communities around them. Barnabas House dreams of a retreat to provide these precious people a place to be restored, refreshed and renewed.
I can’t wait for you to meet the founders! I have known Doug and Lisa Taylor for over fifteen years. You will find them to be authentic people with a genuine care for others. They endeavor to be healthy and whole and they encourage others to pursue that as well. Lisa comes from a family of multi-generational pastors and understands the pressures they face.

Barnabas House has made great strides in making their dream a reality. They have faced many obstacles, but their driving passion remains to help pastors—a group of people that rarely ask for or receive help.
Thank you for considering Barnabas House Oklahoma Inc. for the Blank Canvas Tour.

*Statistics provided by The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc.”

Lynette Sharp is a freelance writer who lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her family. She writes on a wide range of topics but the prevailing theme is human connection. She is a motorcycle enthusiast and is extremely serious about having fun. You can contact Lynette at marshall_lynette@verizon.net.