Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Called

I am not called to balance budgets.

I am not called to track contribution patterns.

I am not called to count heads in worship services.

I am not called to produce slick advertisements to hang on doorknobs.

I am not called to decide what kind of tile to put on the Fellowship Hall floor.

I am not called to cater to the nostalgic whims of the way things used to be.

I am not called to perpetuate the institutional status quo for no good reason.

I am not called to stroke the egos of pathological complainers.

I am not called to sit on committees that do nothing.

I am not called to read email forwards.

I am not called to reboot servers.

I am not called to fill out forms.



I am a pastor.

I am called to offer Christ to people.

I am called to proclaim the Gospel so that the reign of God will be realized on earth as it is in heaven.

I am called to serve people who are striving to pattern our lives after the example of Christ.

I am a pastor, and I am called.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

"He is so great that all things give Him glory if you mean they should-- So then, my brethren, live!"

Gerard Manley Hopkins
(and Laura)

Kevin Shelton said...

Darn tootin' you're called!

Clayton said...

Amen! Preach it, brother!

Anonymous said...

But I'll bet you are glad that someone does that stuff ;)

Seriously Andy, balancing budgets, sitting wit babies in the nursery and many of the mundane tasks of life are sacred if we are called to do them. When we are following Jesus we can all say:

I am called to offer Christ to people.

I am called to proclaim the Gospel so that the reign of God will be realized on earth as it is in heaven.

I am called to serve people who are striving to pattern our lives after the example of Christ.


Just an alternative thought from another pastor.

JD said...

That was nice. I hope we can all be that definative in our calling.

PAX
JD

gavin richardson said...

andy's sub calling

eating up some casseroles

receiving numerous little christmas gifts

being distracted

being allowed to have the largest library in the church

Andy B. said...

Kansas Bob, I'm not saying I don't DO that stuff, and Laura, I'm not saying that those tasks can be sacred and glorify God, what I'm saying I do not experience such things as fulfilling my calling. Mostly, I'm saying that just recently routine tasks have been driving my ministry, rather than my sense of my call driving my ministerial tasks. Does that make sense?
(And I put sitting with babies in the nursery in an entirely different category than balancing budgets, by the way :)

Anonymous said...

I think I understand Andy. I describe that part of pastoring like this:

The things I have to do (administrative stuff) to get to do the things that I want to do (ministry stuff).

Blessings, KB

PS: I know some people who are gifted in such a way that they actually get life out of balancing budgets. Glad that God puts different gifts in the body.

Anonymous said...

I am called to be a human.

I am not called to pay taxes.

I am not called to do laundry.

I am not called to shower.

I am not called to iron my clothes.

I am not called to write thank you cards.

I am not called to know how to type.

I am not called to pay Ameren UE every month.

But I guess unless I want to move out to the forest, or really push the envelope of living in our society, i'll have to do what i'm not called to do to survive!

Anonymous said...

I am a pastor as well and really resonate with this post. It's amazing though -- sometimes in the midst of doing these things that are far from my official calling, I have had such clear glimpses of God's presence. It hasn't happened while doing anything remotely related to finances or heavy administrative tasks, but there's always room for miracles, I suppose.

One of your friends referred to this blog. I'm glad I clicked on the link.

Blessings,
Peacepastor

Anonymous said...

I understand completely. Add to that:

Change the light bulbs

Water the flowers

Shop for a new copier

Quipper said...

Adam,

I am not called to do any of those things either; however, to fulfill my vocation as husband and father, I do them (or at least some of them).

However, when a Pastor is focusing on the minutae of administrivia, and not focusing on preaching and the Word, he is not focusing on his calling. That's what adminstrators and trustees are for.

If the Pastor is acting as the CEO, then he is not a preacher; he is a business owner.

BTW...if I am following the intent of the fourth commandment, then I render unto Caesar what is Caesar's - I pay my taxes. I am respecting the God-ordained jursidictions whose responsibility it is to enforce the law.

Merry Christmas,
Rick (Quipper)

Anonymous said...

Rick (Quipper) brings up a real issue when he comments:

"If the Pastor is acting as the CEO, then he is not a preacher; he is a business owner."

This comment seems to focus on what the role of a Pastor really is. Some would say that he is a mainly a preacher and some would say that he is mainly a shepherd. A shepherd may sometimes look more like a CEO than a Preacher. I'd be interested in hearing what you all think that the role of a Pastor is.

I think I'll pose this question at my place as well.

Anonymous said...

Try this for the discussion at my place.

codepoke said...

KB got me started. Here's my thoughts. FTR, I am nobody. I'm not a pastor or anything like that. I'm just a manager in an IT division.

Get someone to balance your budget. Call her the deacon of stewardship.

Damn the tracking of contribution patterns, if it means what I think it means.

Counting the people of Israel was not such a hot idea. Drop counting the church.

Advertising is only necessary because the people around us don't know us. Advertising perpetuates the problem. It doesn't cure it.

Find a decent artist in your church, and make them submit their ideas to a committee. It will be good for a chuckle.

The way things used to be is EXACTLY your problem, pastor! You must be the one to shepherd people through change. Get good at telling people that change is necessary, what change is necessary, why it's necessary, how it's going to hurt, and how you are going to heal them all the way through it. All change hurts. It's is exactly the pastor's job to make change work anyway.

Ditto.

SOMEONE MUST stroke the egos of pathological complainers. It's quite a calling for those who are blessed with that gift. Put them to work. Call them deacons in the ministry of edification, and get them to work.

It is your job to make every committee do something, or to find someone who will. Explain to each committee that there is a difference between force and work. Exerting force wears you out, but work is force over a distance. Work wears you out for a purpose. Committees that exert force without doing work are a drain. Show me the work.

Email forwards. Guess what? Your people are finding out about the 21 century. Your seniors think email forwarding is the greatest thing since the party line, and they are learning how to make it work. Give them a hand. Appoint a deacon of modern communications. There is a young married in your church who hates email forwards even more than you do. Teach him some social skills by having him teach classes in advanced email techniques.

Rebooting servers and filling out forms? Get real. I work in Information Technology and everyone I work with says exactly this. You won't find a job anywhere that doesn't involve mundane tasks that some droid could do better. And don't try being a mechanic. It's even worse.


* I am called to offer Christ to people

That's odd. It sounds like the people are your biggest problem. All their insecurities and needs are what has you down.

---

The modern pastor's job is almost unsurvivable. I don't grudge you your dissatisfaction. I admire your push toward the goal. But, I would encourage you to redesign the role in your mind into something of more profit to the body, and more survivable for yourself.

I don't value preaching so much as I do living. If, as a pastor, you live a constant example of love, your preaching can be almost anything and the people will profit.

Declare the kingdom by teaching others to serve, and by serving all.

If I had a prescription, it would be a weekly dose of the Questing Parson

Quipper said...

KB - got your link, and responded on your site. No need to repeat the response here...it's loooooong.

Thanks,
Rick

Quipper said...

Codepoke says:

If, as a pastor, you live a constant example of love, your preaching can be almost anything and the people will profit.

Frankly, that scares me. It sounds more like cult of personality than pastor.

codepoke said...

Frankly, that scares me. It sounds more like cult of personality than pastor

Not to worry. A personality cult is almost always driven by an extremely gifted preacher. I'm saying the opposite.

I was refering to the quality of the delivery, not of the content. A preacher can be a merely adequate public speaker and by his superior life of loving service be a deep blessing. If he preaches anything less than Christ and Him crucified, though, he will not profit anyone. Sermons extolling the modern health and wealth gospel, new age deceptions, or happiness through the well-balanced psyche will profit no one.

[Recite Nicene Creed here.]

Sorry to confuse.

Quipper said...

Codepoke, thanks for the clarification. That helps.