Over the past 6 years, I did not like church nor did I like church people. I had been burnt many times by leaders and laypeople alike. I did not see the true life of Christ being lived out. Over the past year and a half, that has changed. Two friends of mine reminded me of the fact that Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her. Slowly, my heart caught up to this detail. I began to realize that the gospel was being lived out in my own life when I could love a very imperfect community. Indeed, this is exactly what God was doing throughout the OT. It is in the act of love and forgiveness and hope that the people of God begin to slowly live out the kingdom of God.
Recently, my friend James (http://www.davedack.com/geter/) posted on the fact that so many leaders, especially youth pastors, want to do ministry. They are like playboys running around dating churches and ministries, trying to do ministry. However, they have no true love for the church (the people of God). Indeed, they often feel the people are a hindrance to the ministry getting done. I use to feel this way.
I have learned that pastoring-- loving the community of people and listening to them and challenging them and even getting hurt by them-- is an act of living out the gospel. And in doing so, hopefully so of them are pastoring me as well.