I wrote this last night during the beginning of the Colts/Pats playoff game. It just popped into my head, and puked out here:
I have only served as a pastor at one church. I spent 14 years at a small country church. It was my first pastorate, and probably my last. While I have a ton of great memories and a lot of good things happened, I consider my time in ministry there a failure.
Now, to be clear, I don't consider myself a failure; I don't consider the church a failure; but I consider my ministry there as failed... because of the broken relationships that resulted. After having been away from the situation for a little over half a year, there are only a handful of people that will even speak to me or my wife. THAT seems like failure to me.
I will freely admit that I made a ton of mistakes. I am far from perfect. There are many things I wish I had done differently and things I regret. I am also aware that I can be a fairly difficult person at times. However, I must be totally missing something for things to have ended the way they did. Not only with the people of the church, but also several of the leaders in our denomination (at least the regional leadership). Hopefully someday I will be able to understand, but I just don't see how it could be judged as effective when so many relationships were damaged and so many people hurt. And, yes, I include myself and my family among those hurt.
I'm sure someone is just waiting to tell me, "Isn't this exactly how Jesus felt? He was alienated, isolated, disregarded, abandoned, and mistreated..." Yeah, you're probably right. But I'm not Jesus. Neither is my family.
So, I'm not blaming anyone, or asking for any input or anything like that. I simply wanted to write down my thoughts on the subject at this point in time. I wish things had went better. I wish I had been a better pastor. I know it's not about me anyway, but I really didn't want things to turn out like they did. Perhaps things went according to God's plan (or somebody's plan), but it was a failed experience as far as what I wanted to happen. That wasn't my idea of what ministry is supposed to be and it's not how I wanted it to be. I hoped it would be different.