My Brother Where Art Thou

This past Saturday night my church served a thank you supper to all the firefighters of our town. As the night went on and our church members had a chance to chat and listen to our local heroes, one thing became obviously clear, the firefighters of Kernersville have a better idea of what it means to be a church more than most churches do. One example was told in a story of a fellow firefighter that was in the process of moving when they were injured. Out of 65 firefighters in Kernersville, over 50 showed up to help them finish moving. The comment was made by one of our volunteers that there wasn't a church in our town that would have 50 people show up to help a fellow church member move. We could learn a lot about community from watching the men and women from our local fire and police departments.

As I was sharing the story with Beth, another thought hit me. Not only was there a since of community between the fire departments but there was a feeling of brotherhood almost like a fraternity. Recently I've noticed through my own life and the lives of other pastoral colleagues just how lacking of a brotherhood there is among ministers.

The more I thought about it the harder it was for me to think of a group of three or four ministers that were legitimate friends. Friends that would call themselves brothers and would do anything for each other. After thinking long and hard I could only come up with five friends that I have that are also pastors. And out of those five, three are also mentors which means those relationships are not quite as open and real as they should be. Only because of my on insecurities of not wanting to let them down if they knew the real me. So that leaves me with only two friends that are also pastors. And they have never met each other. So although I have pastor friends, I have no pastor brotherhood.

Why is it pastors seem to lack this one element that every other profession in America has. Beth says there's a feeling of brotherhood among her attorney friends. There may be some she doesn't agree with or like but she never tears them down to other attorneys. The same with doctors, nurses, teachers, or garbage workers, they all have an unspoken bond to pull together and support one another. They realize that although they may disagree they are on the same team working for the same goals.

That's not the case with most pastors. In ministry it truly is a dog eat dog world. If one of our own goes down we're right there help keep them down. If a fellow pastor is getting ripped then we're right there to join in. Defend them? What's that? Kick them while they're down and let God show them grace, that's our motto,
And why do we act this way? Ego? Pride? I'm right and your wrong mentality? Isn't it enough we as pastors get beat down day-in and-day-out by want-to-be pastors that fill our churches and pews? Why do we feel the need to add to those beatings? Why can't we be more like those firefighters? Where's the brotherhood?


Shaun said…
Good word Mike!

As a fellow minister I too have been discouraged by the ultra-competitive nature of our jobs when compared with those of whom you spoke. It's a sad truth that we often belittle and condemn other ministers rather than exhorting and encouraging one another. We each need an Aaron every now and then to "lift up our arms."

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