Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Busy Pastor

The adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears like adulterous to characterize a wife or embezzling to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal, a blasphemous affront…. [It is] a blasphemous anxiety to do God's work for him.
I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands on my time are proof to myself — and to all who will notice — that I am important.
How can I lead people into the quiet place beside the still waters if I am in perpetual motion? How can I persuade a person to live by faith and not by works if I have to juggle my schedule constantly to make everything fit into place?

Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor

It takes courage to avoid the performance trap. It also takes faith, faith that God will accomplish his purpose.

If we pastors are proclaiming grace, shouldn't we also be demonstrating it by the way we live?

So what should a pastor do with all this extra time?

One important role of a pastor is to listen:

Pastoral listening requires unhurried leisure, even if it's only for five minutes. Leisure is a quality of spirit, not a quantity of time. Only in that ambiance of leisure do persons know they are listened to with absolute seriousness, treated with dignity and importance. Speaking to people does not have the same personal intensity as listening to them. The question I put to myself is not "How many people have you spoken to about Christ this week?" but "How many people have you listened to in Christ this week?" The number of persons listened to must necessarily be less than the number spoken to. Listening to a story always takes more time than delivering a message, so I must discard my compulsion to count, to compile the statistics that will justify my existence. I can't listen if I'm busy. When my schedule is crowded, I'm not free to listen: I have to keep my next appointment; I have to get to the next meeting.

Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor

If you are a pastor, stop acting as if you are indispensible. If you are a parishioner, free your pastor from your own and others' unrealistic expectations. Let's all learn how to live a grace-filled life.

Pastor Rod

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

No comments: