Monday, March 01, 2010

On being a new minister

There's an excellent post on the Per Crucem ad Lucem site today, entitled: Pastors aren't Prophets - some unsolicited advice for newly-minted ministers. It's by Rick Floyd.

In it he discusses (amongst other things) the need for ministers to gain the respect of their congregation by being a faithful pastor to the people day in and day out - only then can you speak prophetically to them, and have them listen.

You need to be aware that in spite of all our calls for self-care and avoiding burnout, a minister's job is never going to consist of a forty-hour week, with no evening/night calls or weekend work. It's truly a full-time job...though that doesn't mean you mustn't take any time off. As he writes:

One of the modern heresies (but by no means the only one) of the contemporary mainline church, is that you can have something akin to a normal 40 hour a week professional life and be a faithful pastor. It isn’t true. A pastor’s life, and the life of the pastor’s family is necessarily involved in the community of their congregation in season and out of season. Sometimes, even often, it is wonderful; other times it isn’t. That’s the way it goes. It isn’t the Canyon Ranch spa. I often say being a pastor is the best vocation there is, but perhaps the worst job. If you are not called to it, it is something you really don’t want to do.

And a little later:

One of the things I learned was that you have to love your congregants, even the unlovable, of which there are far too many, and who take up a good deal of your time. If and when you find yourself loving them, you know you are on your way to really being a pastor. Some of them you will just never learn to love, and you have to turn them over to God, who does.

Floyd probably packs more wisdom into this one article than you'll find in many a day. Essential reading.

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