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George Gasperson

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There are many rich rewards to being a pastor, but there are also some dangerous pitfalls.  One is rarely having the opportunity to be on the receiving end of ministry.  In order to offset that danger, I ask our staff pastors to take a Sunday during the summer and attend another church with their families so they could be ministered to.  Sunday was my day to be away.

If you aren’t a pastor, then some of what I’ll say won’t make much sense.  Although pastors are regular people, ministry does some weird things to our self-image and our sense of responsibility.  Being in charge of worship services and the spiritual care of others tempts us to be too concerned with things that aren’t ultimately that important- things like worrying about what people will say when we’re not at church, or worrying about whether or not things will go OK in our absence.  Stupid stuff like that.

The day began like every other Sunday.  I got up at my regular time and got my wife out the door (her presence at our church was required today).  I decided to attend a large church in the next town, about 30 minutes away.

On my way to church, it occurred to me that I am completely unused to driving anywhere on a Sunday morning, because I normally get to church early.   I was eager to see what the rest of the world does.  Two miles from my house, a black Dodge Charger blew by me and passed me over double yellow lines.  I guess the hot rods wake up early on Sundays.  My route took me past my friend’s church (he’s the pastor), and I said a prayer for him as I went by.  I couldn’t help but notice that the parking lots of the diners were full.  I drove by the Country Club and was surprised to see a foursome putting on the 10th green, because it wasn’t even 9AM.  I guess they get an early start on Sundays, too.

All the way to church, my stomach was churning.  My mind was telling me this was a bad idea.  I should be at my own church and ministering to my people.  Then I received a text, which is unusual for me on Sunday mornings.  It was my friend who doesn’t usually attend church.  He sent me a picture of the inside of my church’s worship center, with the caption “Are we going to miss you today?”  He came to church!  I was sick, and it was all I could do to keep from turning around and going back.

Finally, I arrived.  I was nervous walking up to the front door, because I didn’t know anyone. This must be what it feels like to be a guest at my church.  I made a mental note to speak to everyone I see next Sunday.  Here was the view from my seat:

IMG_20190707_091458

You need to know this about pastors who visit another church: it’s very difficult for us to stay out of “comparison and evaluation mode.”  Our instincts are to analyze instead of relaxing and worshiping, and I struggled at first.  Then, somewhere during the second song, it happened.  Like a Ninja, Jesus slipped in and stood beside me.  The words and the music took me in, and everything else seemed to slip away.  He gently reminded me that the success of my church doesn’t depend on me.  He’s the one in control.  It was liberating!

Then the pastor spoke, and his sermon was both relevant and engaging.  The topic was prayer, and he taught that my prayers are a reflection of my perception of who God is.  If I perceive God to be weak, disengaged, and uncaring, then I’ll pray that way.  I was convicted.

Before I left for church, I wasn’t sure what today’s experience would yield.  But God had it all planned.  He created an atmosphere for me where I didn’t have to concentrate on anything except what He was saying, and it was so rich.  I heard Him, I felt Him, and I was renewed. It was a gift from heaven, one which I rarely get to experience.  Next week, when I stand before my own church, I’ll be better because of today.

18 comments on “My Sunday As A Regular Person

  1. Madalyn Hilliard says:

    George, you were missed at CCC, but it is important to take care of your spirit man as well as caring for us. We are praying for you.
    Madalyn Hilliard

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    1. Thank you Madalyn! I missed being there too. See you this Sunday!

      Like

  2. Linda beale says:

    I am sure you need food for your soul just as your congregation does, you should probably do that more often. Just rest knowing , that is what you give us every Sunday. Love

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    1. Thank you Linda! Missed seeing you yesterday. Thanks for reading and understanding.

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  3. Jill O’Brien says:

    Great idea for you and the other Pastors in our church. I had you home in bed sick, because Margaret didn’t sound too good. So I’m glad that wasn’t the case and that you received a blessing!

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  4. Jennifer Cowan says:

    We definitely missed you Pastor. I also thought you were probably home sick after seeing the Mrs 😉 Glad you did this and got to experience the outside view. I can still remember vividly my first visit to CCC! Now… come back home 😉

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    1. Thanks, Jen. See you Sunday.

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    2. Natalie Digor says:

      Always good to stand back and “reflect”!to let go and let God ! Thank you for sharing, pastor George’s, we love you!

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      1. Thank you Natalie!

        Like

  5. Vanessa Johnson says:

    This was great!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Vanessa!

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  6. Rushie says:

    👍

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  7. Kim says:

    Yep. Totally wondered where you were! Glad it was this. One of my churches (mega) actually had a Pastor for Pastors. … someone amazing in psychology. Really saw the Pastors & was able to minister to them before they got sucked dry. Praying all the best for you….. & of course will be glad to see you back again! Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Kim! See you Sunday!

      Like

  8. Pam says:

    George, I always love reading your post. I can relate to so many of them. I share them with my co-workers:) Miss you and Margaret lots.

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    1. Thanks Pam! Love and miss you too!

      Like

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