|A few months ago my wife and I decided to sell our minivan, our much-beloved Honda Oddyssey, use the cash and purchase an older, more economical second car. This was not an easy decision. I like my cars new, shiny and utterly without maintenance needs. With the extra cash we made from selling the van (a moment of silence, please), we bought a 1994 Honda Accord with 163,000 miles on it. |
Each month I have the knowledge that I am no longer making one of my original two car payments, and that's a nice feeling. But, alas, with an older car (even a Honda) there is ongoing maintenance and things that don't sound quite right or need a little adjusting here and there. This stresses me. As I said, I like things to work. Period. I prefer a no mess relationship with my cars.
So far, the brakes have needed a complete overhaul, the oil needed changing and now the speedometer is on the fritz, and soon we'll have to re-charge the AC. Stress. Planning the visits to the mechanic, spending the money, rearranging our schedules to get these things done. What I've had to realize is that I need to simply accept that this is the way it's going to be and get over myself and my desire to have a stress-free relationship with my car.
Less than a year ago my family and I moved to a new town when I accepted a call to a new church as its lead pastor. The call, in many ways, was and is very exciting. I mean, I have staff, a bigger budget to work with, more people, a great facility, lots of good, missional, ongoing ministries and terrific potential for the future. All shiny and new and without problems, right? Not right. But you know that already.
Churches -- regardless of size, budget, facilities, whatever -- have one thing in common: they are all made up of people. And people need maintenance, even when new cars and beautiful facilities do not. My old Honda Accord (affectionately named the Batmobile) is a parable for some of what it means to be a pastor, I think. Stress, maintenance, planning, listening for what isn't working right, setting up trips to the mechanic, rearranging my schedule to fit the need, you name it. Whatever the particular issue, it seems to me that there is a strong correlation between my relationship with my car and my relationship with my church. I do well, of course, to just accept this on some level and deal with it, diligently, passionately, patiently.
And here's what's true in both cases: when they are running right, they can be a whole lot of fun to drive.
Labels: church, mission, pastoring