Have you seen this picture before? It’s a very interesting (satirical) cartoon. In the foreground, it shows a man that is labeled as “Pastor;” in spite of his masculine appearance, he wears a dress. In his arms, he holds a baby with the face of a grown man. At this right, a child with the face of a woman cries, tugging at his skirt. Two children fight to his left, one laying to the ground while the other lifts his arm as if to punch. Another girl looks on, is if confused. A baby bottle lies on the ground, apparently dropped in the midst of the commotion. It appears that these adult-children are still being feed a diet fit for babies.
In the background, a few workers can be seen harvesting in a field. However, the field appears endless–going on and on as far as the eye can see; there appears to be much work left, but only a few workers to take on the task.
Do you ever feel like this as a pastor? That you are so tied up dealing with those who are spiritually (or otherwise) immature that you cannot deal with the true work of being a pastor: bring lost sheep into the safety of God’s fold? This can be frustrating for all involved. Additionally, our NCD survey data has shown that “babysitting” can often hide behind the noble title of “serving” or “servant leadership”.
If you return your eyes to the picture, you will see that the sun is beginning to set. It is true that we are in the “sunset” years of earth’s history. The coming of Jesus draws nearer and nearer. While a pastor may feel the urgency of preparing for the second coming, it may be that he is tied up with trivial matters and unable to tear himself away to focus on the greater work. The daylight won’t hold on waiting for him to complete his tasks. Either way, night is coming.
On the right, storm clouds can be seen rolling in. Not only is night approaching, bad weather threatens to ruin the crop that is left. And yet, the pastor stands still, simply gazing out at the work to be done, unable to move forward. How often are pastors unable to push forward or prepare for the future because they are so entrenched in their current situation?
Babysitting should however not be a replacement for shepherding. Yes, shepherding is a legitimate gift each church needs. With existing lack of shepherding many sheep are left unattended and wavering astray. What is the difference between babysitting and shepherding then? Shepherding does not prevent from equipping and mobilizing every believer for ministry, whereas babysitting often does. Think about it.
As a pastor, are you a “babysitter” or “people-pleaser?” Are you unable to complete the task the Lord has given you because of drama, immaturity, or negativity within your church? If so, press forward, my friend. Jesus’ coming is close at hand, and there is still much work that has to be done before that time comes. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from your true mission.
Don’t allow yourself to become a babysitter.
This blog was inspired by this video by Wes McDonald of “The Final Movement:”