Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Call Me Neo.

It would appear as though I've been living three lives.

In the first life, I am a mild mannered Th.M. student, studying the Old Testament at a local seminary. It's a great life. I read academic books, study Hebrew, and consider the details of text criticism and hermeneutics.

In the second life I read pastoral books. Books on how to lead a church, how to preach, how to manage people, and how to do this, that and the other pastoral task.

In the third life I am the pastor of a church.

You'd think these three lives would intersect occasionally, wouldn't you?

Well... they don't. At least not as regularly as I would like for them to. As a pastor I am using the Bible regularly, but not in the same way we use it in class. Both are good uses, but as a pastor reading the bible with regular people, we read with application much more consciously in mind. The church growth and leadership books don't seem to relate to my church either. You'd think they would, and occasionally something proves helpful. But they talk so much about leadership, and managing crises, fostering change, buzzword, buzzword, buzzword.

I guess I'm just not proactive about fostering organic growth within dynamic relationships as we move towards a community driven paradigm.

Because I'm not a manager. I'm a pastor.

So I spend an hour sitting with an 87 year old lady who has a black eye from falling out of bed last week, and is stressed about her husband who is still in the nursing home after his accident 93 days ago. And sometimes I sit with a 93 year old lady who used to be a stalwart in our church. Last year at this time we still enjoyed conversation, but now her mind is slipping. She still smiles when I read the Bible to her, and holds my hand tight when I pray for her.

Other times I'll visit with some of the young men, and eagerly look for the fruit of the Spirit. Or I'll have breakfast with one of the older men, and wish we were all as eager to read the Bible as he is. And every Sunday I stand up and preach the gospel. I look around and see no visitors, and know that everybody in the room has heard it before. And I know that everybody in the room, including me, needs to hear it again. We all need to pray the prayer of confession, hear the assurance of pardon, to recite the creed, and hear the word of our Heavenly Father to his children. And we pray for the work of the Spirit, without whom there will be no real change anyways.

It's good work. You just wouldn't know it from looking at the "Pastor" shelves of the local bookstore.


Joel Pearce said...

If there was a "like" button for this, a la Facebook, I'd click it. Great post, and I have nothing else to say!

Aubrey said...

Dude. That was a great post. You brought tears to my eyes. Of course I'm pregnant, so many things do that. But this definitely did. You're a great pastor and I'm blessed to get to hear you preach every week.