It's been two months at the new church and so far things are going great. I've been very well received and people genuinely seem to like me. I feel like I've been genuine with people and so I don't feel like their affinity for me is misguided. But still, it's all a bit strange.
#1 It's weird to have everyone like me. And they're so complimentary--all the time. It's like I can do no wrong, or at least have done no wrong. I guess it just makes me anxious about when exactly the other shoe will drop. You know? Like it's great when they like you but what's gonna happen when they're unhappy? Or don't like a sermon? Or a leadership decision I make? What then?
#2 They're supposed to really like Jesus, not me. I want people to come to church because they want to know God or grow in Christ, not because I can preach a good sermon or they like me. And I suppose those two aren't polar opposites, and liking a pastor may in fact facilitate a relationship with God, but still, it's weird. Maybe a lot of it's wrapped up in my wariness to be viewed too highly. I don't know. It's almost like if they hated me and came to church anyway, then at least I'd know that they were there more for God than for me.
On the flip side of all that--I prefer to go to a church where I like the pastor and get something out of the sermons. A good Christian community can get me to hang in for a long time, but if I can't stand the pastor or get nothing out of the sermons, then I'm less inclined to keep going back. And there's no reason why the same wouldn't be true for others and having likability as a pastor would generally be a good thing.
I guess the crux should be the 1st addage in my call to ministry: it's not about me, it's about God. In the early days, that was about my weaknesses--as in, it's not about my lack of talent or experience, it's about God and how I allow God to use that lack of talent or experience. These days, that phrase is more of a reminder of humilty--it's not about me and my gifts or likability, it's about God and God works through me.
(Now it's off to go work on a sermon so God can do just that!)