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Pastors with Doubts

This week I've been involved in one of the most interesting conversations I have had in years. A group of sixteen pastors sat in a room; these were men who believed the Bible, who have had good ministries, many of them having had some long and successful ministries. These were evangelical pastors of larger churches and smaller churches, as well as men who have had significant ministries overseas, sitting down and discussing something that you seldom hear pastors discuss. In fact, as the conversation went on, you began to wonder if the topic was something pastors should discuss.

What they were discussing was their doubts, their questions about Christianity, about their faith, about their ministries, about their careers.

One man said. "When I hear the story of Job, it ticks me off. Oh, sure, Job at the end gets money back, and he has a family given back to him, but once you lose a child, you never replace that child. And the fact that Job lost his entire family, that part of this was because of some cosmic argument between God and Satan with Job being the pawn--that story, if you really think about it, makes me angry."

Another pastor said, "When I read the book of Jeremiah, I get depressed. I get frustrated. I get discouraged. After all, here's a man who gave years of his life to God, and from a human standard, there was no demonstration of success."

Another pastor said, "I was in a church for ten years; the church was growing; it was prospering. Six months before I resigned, the chairman of the board of deacons came to me and said, 'My goal is to get you out of here.' When I resigned, that same man came to me, and he said, 'I will give you credit for one thing, you're a man of integrity. You have always spoken the truth, and you could have split the church over what has happened in the last few months. And if you had, you would have won. But you didn't do it because you were a man of integrity.'

"That happened two years ago. Since then I have sent out resumes and talked to churches about being their pastor, and not one church has invited me to candidate. I'm angry because I'm out of work since I'm a man of integrity."

Another pastor spoke up and said, "But isn't it something to know that when we go through hardship, and when we go through trial, and when we go through difficulty, that somehow God thinks of us as a special person, that we can be that individual?"

Another pastor said, "That used to work, but it doesn't anymore. I'm tired of being that special person. I'm tired of going through all of that." And another pastor said, "We would have never had this conversation when we were in seminary. "

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