Friday, December 7, 2007

Chinese Take-Out -3-

2. Pastors and leaders need to lead with stronger examples in their own lives.

The office of pastor is a bear, and those who pursue it are brave, brave men. I have great respect for pastors who are trying to fulfill God's calling to lead and juggle church, family, and larger Christian committments. Brave pastors have congregations who will imitate them, don't they?

a. Remind us you're human. Congregations can easily relegate the pastor to some category where they exist as pure pastor (whatever that is), disembodied from normal life and experiences, as some kind of church hunchback, emerging to preach in Christianese on Sundays and have no real needs outside those of the church's. Bah. I appreciate it when Darrin uses examples in his own life to talk about real life and struggles and humbling experiences. Tell us
your opinions and when you repent of those opinions, if needed. All of this can be quite freeing and humorous at the same time.

Live a real life. You still have one, don't you? So tell us about it. I can't dictate parameters for any individual, but I know that churchgoers need to know that you are still attached to reality and that you know how to talk to non-Christians about matters of faith without sounding weird. We need to know that so we can do the same.

b. Find accountability in good, trustworthy people. No one likes it on any level (myself included--I avoid accountability whenever I can). For so many reasons, pastors cannot be alone in their duties. They need someone(s) on their side to both an objective voice and admonishment when necessary. In my own life, I've seen several pastors who have not had accountability, and the results are dismal for anyone in contact with these men.

c. Do something outside the church, and bring others with you. I love it when pastors attend conferences, connect with people from other places, gain outside perspectives on Christ's church, and reflect on what it all means to their own local churches. I really love it when they tell the congregation all about it. Pastors are the church's eyes and ears to Christendom, and we need badly to know where we stand.

Maybe people are nosey, and maybe they just want to be more involved. Pastors are in the unique position of showing people the right doors to open to work their spiritual gifts and abilities. Many churchgoers lack spiritual direction and want someone to point them in the right way. someone once told me that leaders should always be looking and preparing their replacements.

d. Show us what shepherding really looks like. Until I attended the Journey, I honestly didn't know anything about what pastoral care was, because it was by and large absent throughout my life. One evening, my husband and I met one of our pastors to talk about ministry stuff, and in the car we had a typical married argument. As we walked inside, there was no real hiding it, although I tried. After obligatory "how are yous," our pastor picked up on it and I admitted we had a fight. I expected him to brush it off as one of those things married people do, but instead he helped us deal with a relationship issue that was a source of disagreement between us. That's just one example. I have others.

e. Give us a passion. This is probably the most important point. A Christian's passion should be to see the world saved. Unfortunately, this passion is rarely ever realized in the life of the church. I'd love to see a pastor in the Asian community exhibit this passion and fervently seek to impart it to others, like it's job #1 (it is, isn't it?). This might require a lot of one-on-one dialoguing as well as preaching in sermons. This is one point that needs constant attention, so I hope pastors don't get tired of reminding people all the time. :)