I'm just a layperson. I'm an elementary music teacher. I'm not a pastor. Take this as you will.
Seems as of late that a lot of good pastors have been under fire. Under fire from those in their congregations, under fire from those within their districts, under fire from their own synods, associations and conventions. Sure, it's not like these guys haven't made mistakes along the way, some of them have made some doosies. Some have been flat out wrong. However, the condemnation seems to be consistently boiled into into this single phrase, "It's all your fault."
"It's your fault the church isn't growing." "It's your fault that there's dissension." "It's your fault the youth aren't coming anymore." "It's your fault that people are leaving." "It's your fault that things are in financial upheaval." "It's all your fault."
Here's the flipside to those coins of accusations: "It's your fault the church isn't growing because you refuse to buy into a trendy program to attract people." "It's your fault that there's dissension in the church because you spend too much time preaching about sin and not enough time about things we can do to feel better about our walk with God." "It's your fault that people are leaving because you think sound theology is more important than being loving to everyone." "It's your fault that things are in financial upheaval because your sermons don't make people feel good about themselves, saying they're helpless without Christ." "It's all your fault, pastor, because it's not the way I think it should be."
In many cases, this is what happens when a pastor faithfully preaches and teaches this: Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins. (And as well within different contexts, emphasizing the sacraments.) That's right pastors, if this is what you've been doing, it is your fault. It's your fault that you did your job. It's your fault that by God's grace you were true to your calling. Shame on you for holding to scripture more than the feelings of man. Shame on you for speaking against false doctrine that's been creeping into your church. Shame on you for being "un-loving" and putting your foot down and saying "No, this is contrary to the Word of God."
To all the unloving pastors, who have been proclaiming Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins, and rightly administering the sacraments, I say this: Thank you.
Thank you for not buying into trendy programs, knowing that once that starts, our congregations will never be free of them. Thank you for bringing down the full weight of the Law, afflicting us in the security of our sin, and then rushing in with the healing salve of the Gospel, that because of Christ my sin is forgiven. Thank you for teaching us sound theology, being more concerned about us than about how we may lash out against you. Thank you for speaking out against false doctrines that have been creeping into our churches, protecting us from the wolves. Thank you for showing us our helplessness without Christ, pointing to the cross that we may rely on Him. Thank you for risking it all each week. The friendships, security and your reputations, that we might know Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins.
Like children we will often get mad and not understand in the tough moments why it is that you refuse to compromise. However for many of us, we usually do understand in the end. So thank you, faithful pastors, who endure more trials than many of us, for simply doing what you were called to do. And while it's our fault many times that you are over-worked, over-stressed, disenheartened and barely breathing at the end of the day, know this: Pastors, thank you. That same comfort of the Cross that you bring to us diligently when things come crashing down around us, that same comfort of the Cross is for you as well.
Soli Deo Gloria