Some folks think that church members can’t or won’t say No to me the Pastor. So strong is my ministerial presence, so weighty my authority that the poor TMPC member only has but response to any request from me: How high?
I wish it were so, but it’s not. If I could always get a Yes from our members then our services would be standing room only every Sunday, we’d out-give our budget by April because every member would tithe and no one would carry a grudge or nurse a resentment. Believe me: members and friends have no trouble saying No to me; and that’s fine by me. Once in a while I give some advice or direction and people actually take.
A few times while talking with a married couple I got a sense that they could use a night out. I said to the couple, “Your Pastor wants you to go to dinner. Don’t argue with me, just go. Have a great time. And if you need some help to cover the meal or pay for babysitting, your evening is on me. Listen to your Pastor now. Do what I say.”
I sound a little like a sponsor in those moments. A sponsor is an integral part of 12-Step recovery programs. A sponsor is someone who has been sober for a length of time. A sponsor has also spent significant time looking carefully at herself and working to change the worst aspects of her character by applying the principles of the 12 Steps. A sponsor is combination friend, counselor, and parent. One recovery writer describes this special relationship: “As we get into the Steps, we find it indispensable to rely for help on those who have gone this way before. In Twelve Step programs, the term commonly used is sponsor. What we call the person doesn’t matter; and we don’t have to call them anything. Asking for help and accepting suggestions are what bring results.”
All of us need someone like a sponsor to help us mature as Christians. We will never grow up alone—never! Growing into our spiritual big boy pants happens as we ask for help and take direction. All of us need someone who can tell us
ü When we’re wrong and acting like a baby
ü When we’re being way too tough on our family
ü When we need to let something go
ü When we did something really well
ü When spiritual progress can be seen in our lives
ü When we need to hear for the millionth time that God forgives and loves us
Chances are high that you have no one like this in your life. I do; and he is one of the greatest blessings I have. You’re fortunate because lots of our members could easily fill the bill. I really wish you did have a sponsor.
No, on second thought, I, the Pastor tell you: get a sponsor—now!