Two pastors, friends from seminary, were having their monthly visit over lunch. They ministered on opposite sides of the same city and were in the same denomination, and both found it helpful. On this visit, Martin brought up his most recent pastoral challenge, which was the sad drift of a young woman in his congregation named Sandra. She had first started to miss occasionally, and now was present at worship only about half the time. She had previously been much involved in other church activities, and now hardly at all. In her early thirties, an attractive woman, she had been faithfully involved with this congregation since college.
“I have approached her a couple times to inquire,” Martin said, “and she just brushes me off with vague ambiguities—travel, sick, busy, always something . . . my wife attempted to talk with her once and got the same thing. I don’t know what to make of it.”
Then Carl, his friend, said, “The only question you need to ask is ‘What’s his name?’”
Martin leaned forward. “What?”
Carl laughed. “Don’t worry. This is not wisdom that arises from your old roommate. My dad was in the ministry for 40 years, and he told me once that guys fall away for multitudinous reasons—career, cocaine, comics, competition, cars . . . but they all apparently begin with c. But when young women fall away, there is invariably a guy involved in it somewhere. And don’t tell me I am being sexist. Just ask her that question.”
Martin sat back. “Worth a try,” he said.
All the characters and situations in this Fifty Ways series are entirely fictional. The patterns being described, however, are not entirely fictional, and will no doubt be recognized instantly by any experienced pastor.
Image from Unsplash, by Mantas Hesthaven, @mantashesthaven