confessions of a pastor - pt 3: my day (and someone's eternity)

I've put off writing this next post due to some tough stuff I've been sorting through. Last week was full of angst, accusations and apathy that was directed at me. It's hard not to take that personally... what someone says they do "in love" often doesn't feel like love. Sometimes it can spill out of you, too, and I didn't want that to influence this. Know what I mean?

A question I'm often asked is what is a typical day like for a pastor?

There's no accurate way to answer that, which is something of an answer in itself. As I just shared, it can be rough - we live in a world where it's easier to criticize  than construct, and if someone is upset with a church a pastor is usually who it gets directed to. On the other side, because I serve God through a church that is made of people on all different schedules, I have to maintain some kind of flexibility in my day and week:
  • Meetings could happen during the day or at night.
  • I may offend someone if I don't show up for something that is important to them because I have to show up to something that's just a bit more important to someone else.
  • Everyone uses a preferred way to reach me - some expect a quick response back by phone if they prefer to call, text if they prefer to text, Twitter if they prefer to Tweet, Facebook if they prefer to write posts or notes, email if they prefer to email, and so on. I have to utilize a smartphone to keep track of it all.
  • My wife and kids roll with whatever I tell them is happening in my day, trusting that I won't abuse that but will give them equal time and attention at some point in the day. (I'll write more on that in my next post)
  • Someone may get offended, and instead of handling it appropriately vents to others - just to "get some perspective." Suddenly I'm forced to have to clean up a mess that poisons others that could have been avoided if just a bit more maturity and kindness was exercised. 
  • There are a group of leaders I am shepherding and looking for ways to give them progressive ownership of roles and projects. Each is at a different spot than another, so I need to read what God is doing in their life to make the best investment.
  • Somehow I need to be growing with God underneath it all.
As an example, yesterday:
  • 9am: I woke up, not because I'm lazy but because two nights before I was up until 4am on a deadline. The fatigue was still in me.
  • 9:30am: I had a meeting for The Big Day of Serving, a national event I'm the point coordinator and team-builder of. we finished around 10:45am.
  • 10:45am: I caught up on emails from a dozen people who needed something from me "at that moment." One shared something that could affected their entire household.
  • 11:30am: I met with a guy who was seeking some counsel/direction. We had lunch at Fiesta Jalapenos.
  • 1pm: I came home, played with my daughter in her toddler world.
  • 1:15pm: I sat down to work on my computer and get a project done.
  • 1:20pm: I received a call from a neighbor/friend who left his plane tickets at his house, and drove to meet him half-way to Cleveland so he could get his plane tickets and make his flight. 
  • 1:45pm: While waiting, I caught up on emails, texts, tweets, notes and voicemails via my phone.
  • 1:55pm: Drove back from that drop-off, and turned the radio off. Spent time praying and seeking God on the car ride.
  • 3:30pm: I took my youngest son to music lessons, and chatted with one of our Lead Team members who teaches him. I also chatted with a former church attender who had her son there. In the middle of those conversations, I crammed in some work on my laptop in between it all.
  • 4pm: Sat down to work on the project I sat down on earlier. Got an email from someone whose marriage is in crisis. Had to defer the project again to focus on what was more important.
  • 5pm: Turned the phone off. Ate dinner with the family.
  • 5:30pm: Drove my oldest son out to test for his karate belt. I've been in the class as well but couldn't test because I've not had the time to train/prepare for the next belt. I planned to get some work done in the off moments of the class (since I was a spectator), but it didn't feel right - my son needed to know I was watching him, and I had relationships to build in the class.
  • 7:40pm: Drove my son home. We talked about everything from karate, God, comic books, the Bible, and more. The phone rang, but I didn't answer it.
  • 8:15pm: Had a meeting at the church building with our Resource Team. HOLY CROW - some amazing stuff is happening!
  • 10:15pm: Came home... caught up with my wife... glanced my emails... we talked about watching the last twenty minutes of NBC's "The Voice" until I realized we'd already watched it two nights before. 
  • 11pm: Responded to two things that needed my attention. I then tabled several to-do list items for Friday and went to bed.
Now... here's the cool part - ALL of that means something. I don't mind a busy day, especially when it's full of purpose. I count it a privilege to be able to invest into my kids and drive them places, as well as to put down a project to help someone with their marriage. It also means something to me when I can look at my wife and kids at the end of a long day and know that we're on the same team.

I might also mention that at the end of the day, I had the chance to read this from someone I met with yesterday: 
So a funny thing happened today..... I walked into a Fiesta Jalapeño’s to have lunch with this guy you may know. He's kind of quirky, but ohhhhh can he speak to you.  I had FB’d him and asked if he’d meet me for lunch and walk with me for an hour or two (metaphorically speaking of course), as I wanted to go on a couple hour journey with him, spiritually.

So I, a stumbling man, whose scripture knowledge is at a level of a 6-year old and whose life seems to be crashing before his eyes, asked him questions I had been pondering over the last few months of my spiritual growth. I told this guy what I'd accomplished so far, what I was doing currently, where I wanted to be and just how hell bent (no pun intended), I was on building a strong spiritual core within myself. 
I spoke to this guy – he listened – he listened well. I exposed some of myself to him – SHAME, HURTS, SINS, IMORRALITY, and more TOXIC SHAME. The more I let spill out the harder it was to hold in. You see the funny thing about TOXIC SHAME is you have to feel it to heal it! 
So this guy just listened and gently pointed me to a spot I needed to be at but just wasn’t finding on my own. You see this guy knew. He knew.

This guy…. you see gave me an AMAZING gift to day. The gift of GOD’s salvation. Right there at a Fiesta Jalapeño’s.  WOW!!! I’m proud to stand up and say, I have turned my life over to Jesus Christ. What a feeling you get on the inside when you receive this gift from the outside.

I want to thank “that guy” – Pastor Tony Myles

Thank you Tony

P.S. I heard Tony saves people at all kinds of restaurants, Waffle Houses, Burger Kings…etc  Oh, Dairy Queens too.
Now that's what it's all about. Someone's ETERNITY - not just their life, but what happens after their life here is over - is forever changed because I made myself available and others make that possible by supporting the work of our church financially and prayerfully. Obviously, Jesus does the saving... we just let ourselves be used. But to borrow a phrase from Hannibal Smith (yes, from the A-Team), "I love it when a plan comes together."

Here's another - for me, and for you (because YOU are a minister to someone as well):
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17).

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