My pain increased on Sunday when a member asked me this question:
Pastor, why is this happening to us?
I have prayed daily to God our Father that this question would never rear its ugly head. How does a pastor answer this question? How does a District President answer this question? How does the Synod President answer this question? I’d sure like to know.
As for me, I answered – unbelief. Just plain old sin (generally speaking). I added to my one word answer that I would not point fingers or lay blame on any particular individual, pastor, event, circumstance, or issue. I just answered – unbelief.
The next question asked of me was:
Pastor, what do you mean by unbelief?
Catechetical Review moment (smiling)
What is the First Commandment?
Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
As patient as I could, I gave examples of unbelief.
- Actions such as worrying about money, how much you have, where it’s coming from, etc.
- Mis-management of money and other gifts.
- Worrying and fretting over the decline of membership.
- Church growth programs.
- Lay Leader programs.
- Worry over the “stuff” instead of being about the things of God.
- Passive-aggressive attitudes. Here in Minnesota, they call it “Minnesota nice.”
- Lack of learning the Word of God. Refusal to come to Bible studies.
- Corporate modeling versus being Church.
- Power struggles.
(by the way, the pastor and the congregation are both guilty of unbelief)
The devil is active in the lives of the Baptized. The devil uses such traumatic events to tempt Christians to reject God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Like I said before, I don’t have all the answers. I would love to think that the closing of a congregation will never happen again. I’d be lying to myself and to you. I do hope that the the leadership of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod comes up with something to help pastors and their flocks when this type of tragedy occurs. Until that day, I pray.
Come Lord Jesus. Come quickly come. Amen.
+ Pastor Wurst
p.s. This will be my last post as an under-shepherd of Christ until such day He Calls me into His service again.
Peace be with you.