목사만 그런 것은 아닐 것입니다. 교회에서 사역하다 보면 소위 잔소리를 해야 하는 위치에 있는 분들이 있습니다. “일찍 오십시오” “빠지지 마십시오” “맡은 자는 충성해야 합니다” 이런 말을 해야 하는 위치에 있는 분들은 별로 인기가 없습니다. ‘대충하자’는 분들이나 ‘시간되면 오시든지’ 라는 분들이 주목받습니다. 교회까지 와서 부담스럽게 하지 말라는 편의주의 교회 생활이 주를 이루면 봉사, 헌신, 희생 같은 고귀한 가치는 교회에서 사라지게 됩니다.
고양이 목에 방울을 잘 다는 분들이 교회에도 필요합니다. 목회자 입장에 서는 그런 말을 대신해 주는 분이 있으면 정말 고맙겠습니다. ‘설교’하는 목사가 강단에서 내려와 또 ‘설교’나 하고 있다고 비판받지 않도록, 존경받는 선배 장로님들이 후배들에게 ‘설교’ 좀 해 주시면 얼마나 좋을까 싶습니다. 마찬가지로 셀목자들이 해야 할 ‘빠지지 맙시다’라는 말을 대신해 주시는 분이 셀 식구 중에 있다면 얼마나 좋을까요? 팀장들이 해야 할 말을 팀원 중에서 ’솔선수범하자’고 대신 말해 주시는 분이 있다면 얼마나 좋을까요? 성가대 지휘자가 늘 입 아프게 하던 “연습 시간에 늦지 마세요”라는 말을 대원 중에 대신해 주는 분이 있다면 얼마나 좋을까요? 모두 얼굴 내는 일만 좋아하고 책임지는 일은 피한다면, 교회는 어디로 갈까요? 후배 목사에게 남길 말씀을 부탁했을 때 은퇴하신 선배 목사님이 주셨던 말씀이 이제야 기억납니다. “성도들이 싫어해도 말씀 그대로 전하는 목사가 되십시오.” 매주 전하는 설교가 그렇고 성도들을 바르게 인도하기 위해 전하는 충심의 말씀이 그렇습니다. 때로는 고양이 목에 방울 다는 긴장이 있지만, 그래도 목사는 해야 한다는 선배님의 유언을 오늘도 곱씹습니다.
Belling the cat
Rev. Bryan Kim
Such difficulties are always in ministry. Who will deliver unpopular topics? Like a high priest, a pastor is responsible for comforting the sufferings of the congregation members, but like a prophet, he is also responsible for pointing out the Word as it is, and has the responsibility of leading congregation to repentance. Even when a generalized topic is preached from the pulpit, one may misinterpret and say, “That sermon was meant towards a specific person”. Sermons rarely single out a specific person. However, when a pastor pays a visit to church member, the message can be more specific to that individual or family. Accordingly, pastors may encourage them with Scriptures and pray for them. On rare occasions, pastors need to shout out the need for them to “repent”. Pastors who are known to speak only kind and comforting words, seldom visits the house of individuals or families with the intent to put guilt trips on them like: “you need to live the life of giving tithes”, “church leaders cannot miss a worship service”, “you must give your vacation time to go on mission trips”and etc. To a typical member of church, an image of pastor is always accepting and comforting is engraved in their minds. So that if they hear a pastor giving them constructive criticism, they may feel fear, rejection and leave the church.
Pastors may not be the only ones. When we work together in a church, there are some church leaders who are in a position to do so called nagging, “please come early”, “you cannot be absent”, “you must be loyal to the church” these nagger are unpopular church leaders. Most people like church leaders who doesn’t nag when you don’t finish your duties, don’t nag weather you show up late or not even show up. Most people are burdened enough in their daily life, so they don’t want to be burdened when they come to church. However, when a convenience-oriented church life prevails; noble values such as service, devotion, and sacrifice disappear from the church.
Church needs congregation members who are skilled at belling a cat. From a pastor’s perspective, I would be very grateful if there are congregation members who can speak “unpopular topics” on behalf of pastors. I don’t want to be criticized as a pastor who preaches at the pulpit, then preaching again away from the pulpit. I would be very grateful if senior elders who are respected among the congregation can ‘preach’ to the members of the church. In the same way, how wonderful it would be if there are some among the cell family who would say “let’s not miss next cell meeting.” It would be a wonderful thing if a cell member can “take the lead” and speak difficult nagging words on behalf of their cell leader. Rather than only the conductor of orchestra always saying “don’t be late for practice”, how good would it be for a member of the orchestra to announce it on behalf of the conductor? If everyone only loves to show face but avoids responsibility, where would the church go? I remember now when I asked for a word of advice from a retired senior pastor; he said to me “Be a minister who preaches the word, even if the congregation doesn’t like it.” When delivering the words faithfully to guide congregation in truth, at times, I feel tense like I am belling a cat, but my weekly sermons are aligned with the words of this wisdom and am marching on.