Pastoring

Over my years of ministry we have longed ceased in my circles to call it “pastoring.” We have called it “leadership.” Pastors do indeed lead, but the way we have come to train ministers isn’t in the style of pastoring that has a leadership component.

We have come to train pastors as leaders in a cultural context. There are always pluses and minuses to this discussion because we need practical components to pastoring that are more necessary today than ever.

Yet, we have honestly failed to train up pastors. In my circles, at least.

Not in this model anyway:

“Pastors enter congregations vocationally in order to embrace the totality of human life in Jesus’ name. We are convinced there is no detail, however unpromising, in people’s lives in which Christ may not work his will. Pastors agree to stay with the people in their communities week in and week out, year in and year out, to proclaim and guide, encourage and instruct as God work his purposes (gloriously, it will eventually turn out) in the meandering and disturbingly inconstant lives of our congregations.

This necessarily means taking seriously, and in faith, the dull routines, the empty boredom, and the unattractive responsibilities that make up much of most people’s lives. It means witnessing to the transcendent in the fog and rain. It means living hopefully among people who from time to time get flickering glimpses of the Glory but then live through stretches, sometimes long ones, of unaccountable grayness. Most pastor work takes place in obscurity: deciphering grace in the shadows, searching out meaning in a difficult text, blowing on the embers of a hard-used life. This is hard work and not conspicuously glamorous.”

We need a renewed calling as pastors. As shepherds. There is a care in our work that should not be neglected. We too often are not interested to be in “hard work” that is not conspicuously glamorous.
Lord, save us.

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