I’ve held quite a few titles in my life: father, husband, son, SGT, and several more. The one thing that I can say is that none of them are as broad as the title of pastor. There are no handbooks for the diverse nature of what it means to be a pastor in the local church. After the last six months in Centerville, I offer these reflections on what it means to be a pastor in the local church:
1. Pastoring is a call to order the church. I realized very quickly that there is a difference between being a preacher and being a pastor. Pastors are called to bring order to the church, and that means ensuring that everything in the church is in its proper place.
2. Pastoring is also about the business of the church. During my first three months of the job I think I spent about 60% of my day trying to figure out the finances of the organization. Finances are a part of the church, and if you want to focus on ministry then the financial side of the house must be in order.
3. Pastoring has no office hours. I always knew that being a pastor was a job that had multiple hours, but what I’ve realized is that you are always on as a pastor. This is a job much like being a father, when you accept the mantle of the position you don’t get to take it off.
4. No one talks to the pastor about his or her concerns for the church. This is one that completely surprised me. Everyone talks about concerns; they just don’t talk to me!
5. Pastors have a relationship with the congregation. I underestimated what that meant going into the position. There is ownership in the relationship between a pastor and the church. We (the pastor and the church) are in this together.
6. Pastors have a responsibility to lead in the faith. I’ve always known that my job is to preach the Gospel, but what I underestimated was my role in creating tension. Tension is where we all grow in faith, and tension makes people uncomfortable. So, in some ways, I’m learning that the pastor should make people uncomfortable!
7. We are all called to be pastors. While we may not all be called to be preachers, I do believe in the priesthood of all believers. The priesthood of all believers means that each and every one of us is called to be a part of pastoring the church.
These are some of the things that I’m learning, and the reality is that the learning is a constant process. What are you learning and how are you being called to be a pastor in your church?