being a pastor: “scribbles and brokenness”

It’s one of the worst feelings!  Turning off my lapel mic, taking my seat, and realizing deep down in the depths of my gut that the sermon I just preached sucked.  I hate that it feels like a cloud of failure is meandering over my head.

I don’t know.  Sometimes it’s due to a lack of energy that sucks the jam out of the preaching event.  On some occasions it was due to sheer procrastination during the absolutely vital prep time.  Other times I just didn’t have enough prep time to “bring it” the way that I intended. 

Here was a space and place for someone to encounter a divine ‘nitty gritty’ love that was ultimately contrived by an incompetent messenger.  It’s like a missed opportunity.  That is the worst part.

“Move on” a voice whispers in my head.  The problem is that the voice full of doubt which questions if “moving on” is even possible.

Look.  I get the thing about brokenness, and how the failures of a pastor are just inevitable because pastors are people too.  I get that.  I get that God uses broken stuff and even though I may have screwed up royally in bringing a lackluster sermon, there are still ways in which God can use that kind of stuff. 

Sometimes I feel like the works I do for God are like a picture created by a toddler.  When my son was 16 months old he grabbed a few markers, his mom (my wife, just for clarity sake) took off the caps, and he proceeded to scribble on a piece of paper.  His mom gave it to me, and it was one of the most beautiful works of art I have ever seen.  So I hung it on my bulletin board in my office.  Let’s be honest, without any emotional or genealogical tie to my son the few scribbles on a piece of paper are quite insignificant and even ugly.


In my head I like to think of God taking our works, as miniscule and lackluster and broken and incomplete as they are and hanging them on a divine bulletin board beside other such works.  I am sure some surely look like Picasso, and some,  like mine look like the scribbles of a toddler.  Even though I am all the active synonyms of brokenness, I like to think that God participates with me in my works like the mother of a toddler who works with the kid who doesn’t know that he needs to take off the caps of his markers.  I like to think that God takes a look at what I do like I would look at the picture my son made.  That it is beautiful.  In a way, that is what makes failure so difficult. 

I am a pastor and I am broken.


  1. Wes Bergmann · August 30, 2011

    Christopher, I just want to encourage you to keep writing. I enjoy reading your stuff!

    • chris lenshyn · August 30, 2011

      Hey Thanks.

      It’s been fun the short time I’ve been doing this. Kinda feels like I’m stretching my legs a bit with this whole writing thing. Thanks again.

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