Finding our guiding values by looking deep within will not lead to a true north. Nor will gaining more knowledge change things. This is hard to admit for most leaders—hard to admit in a culture of self-dependence.
The change from one pastor to another is plagued with heartache and frustration and failure. We’ve all heard the stories of churches losing members, losing funding, losing their ministries in the wake of a pastor leaving. I believe that the biggest reason for this hardship is a lack of leadership. Leadership truly is important, and if a void in leadership is created at the point of transition, then the church will suffer.
I’ve come to believe that there is perhaps no virtue in our society that is lacking more than contentment. People (myself included) are perpetually dissatisfied, whether it has to do with their personal identity, their money and possessions, or their life situation. They are driven by a constant craving to be someone they are not, have something they do not, or be somewhere they are not.
It began a few days ago with an email from one of our professors, alerting some of us to Eugene Peterson’s recent interview with Jonathan Merritt. In it, Peterson was asked about his views regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage. When Peterson responded that he would have no problem performing a same-sex wedding, it sent shock waves throughout the Christian community.
It’s possible to continue the outward mechanics of life, but inwardly check out. Or worse still, give yourself over to soul-numbing sin. Both are common responses to what I call “soul-fatigue.” Soul-fatigue isn’t “I need another cup of coffee” fatigue. It’s “I don’t see a way forward” fatigue. And, eventually, we all experience it.