This doesn't happen to me very often, but occasionally there is a Sunday (or some other day, but usually a Sunday) that makes me question whether I should really stay in this crazy business called ministry. Today is proving to be such a day. Church is a weird thing/place/group of people. All of these people get really emotionally invested in it, and that's good - investment and engagement is what we want. We want people to feel ownership in the church. But then they seem to feel sole ownership, i.e., my opinion is the only one that matters, and it's appropriate for me to express that whenever and however I want. Thus we have people disrupting Communion to make a minor rearrangement that, yes, makes the process somewhat smoother, but only after making it much more awkward. And we have people who seem intent on sabotaging any attempt I might make to have a positive ministry (or life) here.
I like the working with youth, and the getting out into the community, and the helping the church engage the world and make a difference. I enjoy all of that stuff. The pettiness, back-stabbing, sniping, imposing your opinion on the entire church, etc., I'd prefer to pass. Unfortunately, it seems like a whole lot of my time and energy are spent dealing with the latter. It's frustrating to know that now I'm supposed to make nice with people who are rampantly slandering me so that I can placate them enough so that they'll be slightly less destructive for a month or two until I irritate them again.
Which I will, because a) I am imperfect and sometimes irritating, and b) they are intent on being irritated. It doesn't make for a good combination.
On a related note, I think there are a lot of ministers who spend a lot of time trying to make sure people like them. Perhaps I should be more like this; it certainly seems to make their time in church less rocky. Then again, it sets a bad precedent and them church members expect all ministers to have a deep need to please them and be liked by them, so they make demands they might not make otherwise. Here is where I am probably a bad minister: I don't have a natural need to be liked by everyone. I've never been liked by everyone, and I tend not to feel bad about that. The fact is, I don't like everyone either, so I don't take it personally. So, we don't click. So what? But the fact that I don't like someone, or someone doesn't like me and I know it, doesn't make me want to destroy their life. It just makes me more or less avoid them. So, it's kind of a mystery to me when people's reaction to not liking me is to try to sabotage my life. And it doesn't make me want to hang out with them. That's all.