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Thoughts From Jacob Waldron

Dear Friends,

Have you ever had to fight feelings of not wanting to go to church? Ever struggled to worship when you have gone? Ever been distracted by things going on inside your own heart or head? Things like shame, temptation, or failure. Things like the loss of a loved one, a load of cares, betrayal, infidelity, or straying children. Things like doubts, burnout, emotional numbness, or work issues. The list could go on and on. In fact, after nearly four decades in the pastorate I can say that most people have at one time or another. And it’s not just parishioners – pastors go through the same thing.


So, when I came across the following post/poem(?) “CHURCH IS HARD” on a friend's feed, I couldn’t help but share it on mine. And from the feedback I got, and the shares, it was obvious many could relate. In fact, I myself have gone back and reread it a few times, because it helps me remember that on any given Sunday there are people in my flock carrying the same burdens. Burdens I as a pastor need to be reminded of as I put together my message from God’s Word.

In searching for the author, all I could find was one particular church website that shared it and added at the end: “Attributed to Jacob Waldron.” I don’t know who he is, but I pass along his words as being an extremely helpful reminder before I ever join in any gathering of the assembled church. For if we are unaware of these realities we will miss out on many opportunities for ministry right there in our midst. Enjoy.

CHURCH IS HARD
“Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgement.
Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.
Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken, and battered by the world.

Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together but doesn’t.
Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.
Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands, and seemingly perfect families.


Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.
Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.
Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.

Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.
Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.
Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.


Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.
Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.
Church is hard for the sinners.
Church is hard for me.

It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect – Sunday best in behavior and dress.
However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, and selfish motives.
But here is the beauty of church:


Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation. Church is a body. Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints. Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace. Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors. Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted, and hearts are invited to seek restoration. Church is a lesson in faith and trust.

Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope. Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories. Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints, is where God resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.


So even on the hard days at church…
When I am at odds with a brother or sister.
When I’ve fought with my spouse because we’re late once again.
When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle yet masking the pain with a smile on my face.
When I’ve worn a scarlet letter under the microscope.
When I’ve longed for someone to hold or fought back tears as the lyrics were sung.
When I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away…
I’ll remember, God has never failed to meet me there.”



Lord, help me never lose sight of these very real ways in which CHURCH can indeed be HARD.

In His Service, Pastor Jeff

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