Should Pastors Seek the Missing Sheep from the Flock?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by righteousdude2, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. righteousdude2

    righteousdude2
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    I'm a pastor for the days of old. The days when a pastor would look around his congregation, and if he noticed a family, or two, missing more than one Sunday service, I'd be on the phone finding out what was wrong.

    I'd even take the time to go visit those who were habitually missing.

    The problem I have with today's breed of pastor's is that my wife and I can be gone weeks at a time, and we NEVER hear from the pastor, or anyone else in the church to see if we're still on this earth.

    We miss a lot of Sundays because both my wife and I have chronic pain issues, and the pain and the meds to give us relief, is strong and makes driving or going out in the public something that is not recommended.

    I'd never let any members of my congregation go more than one service without checking on them. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but is this lack of care a new trend in today's pastors?

    Should the pastor be more involved in seeking the sheep entrusted to his care when they are not with the others in the feeding area?

    I just thought I'd ask, since there are so many questions going on about expectations of pastors.

    BTW, our pastor is way over weight, and there have been many folks that lovingly confronted him about the fat, telling him they cared about his over all health and longevity. His being over weight doesn't bother me as much as his nonchalant attitude about his flock and their whereabouts!

    Shalom,

    Pastor Paul :type:
     
  2. abcgrad94

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    I think it depends on the person/family who is missing. We have a few elderly ladies in our church who struggle with pain, and we don't call them every time they miss. We already know the reason and assume that's why they aren't there.

    I've noticed two extremes about this. Some folks don't want to be bothered if they miss a Sunday or two, in fact they will get offended if you continue to "check on them." The opposite extreme is some who miss a Sunday and use it as an opportunity to cite offense against the preacher for not caring about them. I know in our church, we care very much about our members, but there is no way we have time to call every single time someone doesn't show up, much less visit them.

    Maybe in larger churches pastors are able to do this, but in our church we only have about 3 men and they work full-time, etc. plus my dh is bi-vo. If people call and need us, we'll make a point to be there, but we've learned to let them contact us if something serious is going on, and they know we do care.

    It would be disconcerting to think the pastor/church members didn't care about you, though. I wouldn't like that.
     
  3. saturneptune

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    I think it is the Pastor's job to find out if something is wrong with his missing members. It is also the job of the deacons, and every other church member. We should care enough about those we worship with Sunday after Sunday to at least establish contact and find out if they need a visit or help. It could be a situation at home, or something happened at the church to keep them away, or numerious other things. To just ignore the people missing is the height of rudeness and a total misunderstanding of how believers should watch over each other.
     
  4. matt wade

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    Paul, I don't know much about your church, but if I'm not mistaken it runs over 1,000 on Sunday mornings, right?

    In my opinion, that's your problem. You are at a church that is way too big. Churches should be smaller and more personal.
     
  5. righteousdude2

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    You Hit the Nail on the Head!

    That is always a problem with the so-called mega churches. However, my concerns are not just mine, but those of numerous members who left the church. They felt the pastoral staff just didn't care. A lot of folks have moved to Sandals in Riverside. I guess they are more organized and able to reach out to people before their absence leads them to leave.

    A pastor needs to listen to his people, and missing members are sending a message. It seems that our pastor is not interested in hearing the complaints and concerns. This is a shame!

    As for us, we will remain put because at our age, changing churches is a major emotional upheaval that we don't need.

    By the way, the only time the pastor ever visited was when I was hospitalized. He came three times in those eight days, and for me that said something about him! He cares. He's just awfully busy.
     
  6. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    A fellow deacon and I went to visit a couple who had been faithful for years, but just sorta dropped out. This was not the first visit they'd had.

    They were gracious, invited us in, we had a pleasant conversation, then we got around to their absence. They gave a few reasons, like being out of town a lot on weekends.

    Finally, I blurted out: "I've got a question for you. Why are we having to come here and beg you to come to church? If you're believers, why do we have to send cards, call you up and come out here to ask you to do what you know you ought to do? You should be knocking the door down to get there. I frankly don't understand why you need to be coddled."

    We didn't get a straight answer. (Being out of town a lot is not a straight answer).

    They still haven't been back. I regretted my outburst, but not my candor. I fretted about it until I remembered what a former pastor told me one time: "Tom, you can't run somebody off who's already off."
     
  7. blackbird

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    I'm going with Tom on this one!! Been there toooooooo many times its not funny any more!!!!

    Righteousdude says we are to treat our parishineers as sheep---thats true!! Got a sheep missin'---give um a ringy!! But we also have to remember that every now and then that sheep will need shearing!! And if he isn't a good wool producer----to the sale he goes!!!

    Church members are sheep who can't seem to find their way back to church--------but have no problem finding their way back to the football stadium or Wal Mart or to the catfish eatery on Friday/Saturday nites!!-----------you know what??? I betcha that catfish eatery's manager doesn't have to "come check on" any of his customers---all he has to do is fry the catfish up and make sure its good and hot when its served---and make sure the baked potatoe is hot enough to melt butter and make sure the tea has enough ice in it---------great day--churches are full of baby sheep!!

    Church members are also at the very same time described as soldiers in God's army---and in one sense---the sheep are not responsible for absenses---on the flip side--the soldier IS responsible.

    If there is spiritual warfare out there(and Righteousdude KNOWS there is) I don't have time to beg and plead and prode and bribe a missing sheep to "fix bayonets" and join me in the charge against enemy lines----too many times I've asked missing sheep to join the fight and they wind up "fragging" me-----Righteousdude knows what fragging is

    I don't have time for heartless sheep who gets mad because the preacher didn't come check out that sheep's "ingrown" toenail problem and skipped church because he didn't want anyone there to see his gait in his step.

    Careless sheep get mad and move their letters------------I have come to the understanding that sometimes those who wind up MAD because the preacher ain't doing this or he ain't doing that---so they wind up moving to another church----guess what----they won't be good wool producers over there at that new church either!!!!!!!! Horrible wool producers bring low prices at the auction!!!!!!!!!

    Mercy----------you've got me on a rant, Righteousdude----get yourself back to that church and get things right with that pastor----you're a soldier in God's army---you ought to know better!!!
     
    #7 blackbird, Mar 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2011
  8. HAMel

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    Finally, I blurted out: "I've got a question for you. Why are we having to come here and beg you to come to church? If you're believers, why do we have to send cards, call you up and come out here to ask you to do what you know you ought to do? You should be knocking the door down to get there. I frankly don't understand why you need to be coddled."

    "Why are we having to come here and beg you to come to church?"

    Perhaps you should have asked, how has the 'church' let you down? Most people won't be totally honest as they don't want to offend.

    Last November I stopped attending my church of record and visited another. On my way home from this new church this past Sunday I saw the pastor in the parking lot and stopped to tell him face to face that I felt it was time for me to move on, no hard feelings, no heartburn, I just felt the Lord leading me elsewhere.

    My wife and I have attended this church for nine years. Since November, four months, not one single person called to ask what was up.

    I am of the opinion that many cease to attend simply because churches have turned cold, and those who drift away simply don't want to offend. All the while the congregation is singing, "Revive Us Again".

    Pastor: "Brother, would lead us to the Throne of Grace this morning?"
    Brother: "Lord we thank you we thank you we thank you! Be with us this morning, be with the Pastor as he brings the message and bless us all, Amen."

    Hey folks, way to many churches are DEAD, DEAD, DEAD. Gossip abounds.
    Back stabbing abounds. Politics rule the day. Many are selfish and stingy. Often solo-singers seek praise for themselves. Pastors don't want to step on any toes. Visitors come late as they don't want to sit in the wrong pew. You know, the pew the Jones family has occupied for the past 28 years.

    ...come on folks.

    Where's the Holy Spirit the Lord promised? Well, the Lord kept his promise for sure. We, the believers, have let Him down. Ain't much room in church today for the Holy Spirit to work.

    "And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" ...and then they got the mud kicked out of 'em and fled naked. Acts 19:15

    You know, Satan doesn't bother with dead churches as they are already dead. A church where the pastor preaches the Gospel is where he's most active and ignorant members give him free reign.
     
  9. Luke2427

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    The church is Jerusalem in the early chapters of Acts was huge. It had up to 25,000 converts.

    There is nothing in Scripture that teaches that churches are SUPPOSED to be small. To say otherwise is to add to the Word of God.

    It also ignores the incredible work megachurches do for the Kingdom of God in this world.

    Tell Spurgeon when you get to Heaven that his whole ministry was out of the will of God.
     
  10. JohnDeereFan

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    In our church, we understand that there are perfectly legitimate reasons why somebody might miss church. And we're not legalists, so we don't require that people be in the pews every time the doors are open.

    But typically, unless somebody lets us know, "Hey, we're going to be out of town next week" or "my boss has asked me to help out at work this Sunday" or something like that, and we know they're a regular attender, we're going to give them a call to make sure everything's alright. To see if they're sick, to see if they're hurt, to see if there's a problem that we can help with, etc.

    Now if they're repeatedly absent, then that may be the sign of a spiritual issue and we treat it as such. If people don't show up for six months, then we remove them from the membership rolls and ask them to apply for membership again if they're still interested.
     
  11. Osage Bluestem

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    I agree. We need pastors to shepherd their flocks.

    I was raised by my grandpa who was a Southern Baptist pastor. He was a great shepherd. He kept track of everyone and was always visiting. He used to take me with him and I miss that very much. We would go to hospitals and nursing homes and homes and wherever there was a need at any time on any day.

    A pastor is the light of christ in his community and should watch over his people that God has trusted to him. He will have to give an account for each and every one of them.
     
  12. abcgrad94

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    But, it's not just the "pastor's job" to care for church members. I thought that's why we have deacons--to help visit the sick, check on the widows, etc. All the work shouldn't be dumped on the pastor while the deacons set themselves up as supervisors over him.

    We should ALL take notice and visit when we can, send cards, etc. and not expect more of the pastor than what we're willing to do ourselves. I have heard people complain that the senior pastor didn't care about them because a family member was in the hospital and he never came to visit. Funny thing, though, the associate pastor visited, people called them, sent cards and checked on them, but they were still mad because the senior pastor didn't do it himself.
     
  13. Osage Bluestem

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    When a church gets so big that the pastor can't handle everyone it is time to organize leaders to plant another local church.

    That is how we grow in my view.

    I agree that deacons are there to help the pastor and the pastor is hard pressed to deal with everything, but a pastor is more than just a preacher and people who are called into the ministry I believe want to sheperd their flocks and advance the kingdom of God.
     
  14. John Toppass

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    When should the pastor or deacon body address a missing member? I can see how that would vary. A member who is a teacher or holds a position that the church counts on probably would warrant probable immediate action, to make sure that they are OK and they are not in need of help or even prayer.

    A regular attendee would probably have close friends who also go to that church and would check or even know before hand.

    Someone who misses often, would not raise as much concern as it is in their nature to miss often.

    If a member, no matter their standing, is in need, even if it is for special prayer, it is just as much if not more their responsibility to let someone know.

    It seems that some folks expect the church staff to have ESP when it comes to their needs.

    It is important that in any ministry that a member should be thinking "how can I serve the church?". Instead we have way to many members that tend to think "how can the church serve me?".

    Reminds me of the time I volunteered at the Astrodome after Katrina. We had some evacuees that were appreciative and did what they could to police and keep the area. Then we had the majority that expected everything to be brought to them, done for them, and then clean up after them.



    PS (Tongue in Cheek) If the member is a good tither maybe the pastor should even give them a wake-up call on Sunday morning.
     
  15. Osage Bluestem

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    There is always the question that the member may be sick or dead or have dire spiritual needs.

    Status checking was indeed the focus of much visitation throughout the ages.

    If we love someone we check on how they are doing.
     
  16. rbell

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    To be honest, you lost your credibility with me when you began to gossip about the pastor's weight. What does that have to do with him visiting you? IMHO, you've diluted what could have been valid criticism with completely off-topic nit-picking (and since you've mentioned that "several people have confronted him," it's obvious he's the subject of gossip. Is that the mark of a healthy church?)

    I'm still trying to find in scripture where it says the pastor is supposed to visit folks once a week who miss.

    Since the pastor equips the saints...and if other saints learn to minister to the flock...isn't it a good sign when the pastor has trained a group of folks to check on others and take care of their needs?

    Sorry to be so harsh, and I'm not trying to minimize what is obviously a difficult situation. But by gossipping and offering unrelated criticism I don't think you're handling this issue in a mature manner.
     
  17. Robert Snow

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    There is no one answer fits all in these situations. The size of the church really shouldn't matter either. Larger churches have more people to shoulder the load.

    In the past I have seen situations where the church I attended didn't contact me if I missed one service or a dozen services. I even mentioned to a pastor of one of these churches to pray for me because I was going to have surgery. A couple of days after the surgery I ran into him at a store and he, looking at my arm in a sling (I had shoulder surgery), asked me what had happened. He didn't even remember about my surgery, let alone pray for me. If fact, he never visited me, even when I was home ridden for months because the surgery was botched. Even after a second surgery, he never visited or called. Needless to say, he isn't in the pastorate any longer. He left a trail of disillusioned people in his wake before he finally left the church.
     
  18. Salty

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    Sorry to hear of your misfortune.

    I recall when I was a candidate for a church in Pa, a man asked for prayer for his wife who was in the hospital. Before we returned to NY, Mrs Salty and I stopped off to see her. - and no, it was not to butter up the church - it was something we truly wanted to do.

    I thought of the verse in Luke 15:4 "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?"

    Salty
     
  19. Osage Bluestem

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    I'm sorry to hear about that Robert. It is sad when a man fills a vital role he was not called to fill.
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    Yeah, you're right. I didn't think of it because I don't think our church let them down. Should have. But these weren't young members. They had been members for 25 years or more; were an active part of the membership. You'd think they'd have no trouble speaking their minds.

    Here's what I wanted to tell them, but didn't: "Do you really think that God's gonna let you get by with this? If you are believers, God's gonna beat up on you. And you need to remember this--God disciplines his children. If he doesn't discipline you, and if you can totally cut yourself off from us, and not be bothered by it, you ought to be worried. God deals with his children and he's obviously not dealing with you about this. Maybe you ought to have a talk with God and re-examine your relationship to him."

    I didn't say it. But I have said it in other settings. A bunch of guys went to the county jail over a few weeks, and had Bible study with the inmates. Naturally, we witnessed to them. And right out of my mouth came "guys, I have to tell you. If you can listen to what I just told you and not be bothered by it, you are under terrible condemnation, because God's not dealing with you. And unless God deals with you, it's impossible for you to have a right relationship with Him."

    Now, most of those inmates didn't care. But none is immune from the work of the Holy Spirit. When he stirs hearts, things happen.

    Maybe I can learn to say all those tough things in a kinder, gentler way.
     

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