Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pastor, It’s Not About You

Sometimes as pastors we get the idea that everything depends upon us.

William Martin has written an excellent book, The Art of Pastoring: Contemplative Reflections, to disabuse us of this notion.

If you are a pastor, or know one, you need to read this little paperback. It only has 81 pages. And some of those have considerable white space. But this book is crammed full of wisdom.

Here are a few quotations:

A wise pastor does not inspire the people with grand visions for the visions will become idols. A prudent minister will not call attention to achievement for that will separate the people into "achievers" and "non-achievers."

You are not a pastor so that you can give birth to your own dreams.

Live modestly. Keep your thinking serene and simple. Bestow grace upon yourself and others. Never try to control your congregation. In your vocation, do that which you most enjoy.

Take a long, prayerful, meditative look at your calendar. Who are you trying to impress? God? Give me a break. The congregation? Possibly. Yourself? Bingo!

When your congregation despises you, it is a great sorrow. When your congregation holds you in awe, it seems somewhat better. When your congregation praises you far and wide, it seems even better still. But when your congregation hardly notices that you exist, you have become a pastor.

If you want to bring health to your people, show that you are wounded. If you want them to do what is right, show that you have done wrong. If you want them to be filled with God, show that you are empty. If you want them to have life abundant, show them how to die.

How blessed are the countless thousands of little congregations who quietly go about the business of giving their modest gift to the world. For the souls of those pastors whose congregations are large and powerful, we pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.

There are powerful illusions that hinder the working of the Word through a pastor:
The illusion that there is something to achieve.
The Illusion that there is something to lose.
The illusion that there is something to do.

How would you pastor if you could not speak? How would you love the parish if you were immobilized in bed? If you can answer these questions, you know the truth of your calling.

For all your belief in the grace of God, you seldom apply it to yourself.

Perhaps the greatest spiritual temptation facing a pastor is the pressure to provide "leadership."

You are not a professional religious person. You are a soul, naked before God like all other souls. Let go.

A congregation does not exist to fulfill the needs of its pastor. You are not the dreamer of your people's dreams, nor are they the characters in your life's play.

Do yourself a favor and click the link to Amazon. Buy a copy of this book and study it.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"

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