Strangely enough, there is not much there on being a pastor. There is a never ending supply of modern buzz words about the demands and opportunities thrust upon well meaning but unprepared pastors (implied if not stated bluntly). There is the promise of research from all the most current sources on what it takes to be a leader, a missional leader, and undertake a strategic plan for great success in this moment. There is much about the Millenial Generation (guess they did not check my own birth date) and how they believe God is harvesting this generation for leaders who will lead in the Kingdom of God.
When you do the hard work of self leadership you end up doing more of...
- the stuff that stirs your soul.
- the stuff that you want to spend the rest of your life doing.
- the stuff you’re flat out uniquely good at doing.You beat back the natural, creeping, “Do I Have What It Takes?”Most leaders quietly question when they get out of bed in the morning because...
- They skipped getting clarity about themselves. They think it’s too late. (It’s not.)
- They drift. They know their sweet spot but they let others call the shots for them.As a result they get trapped in round peg/square hole org charts doing what they’re not good at doing...and not doing it well.
Today, I want to simply acknowledge the two other common combatants that contribute to the "Do I Have What It Takes?"
Are you feeling called to a higher level of leadership? Are you being groomed for more responsibility in your organization? Do you feel overwhelmed by the pressures and demands of leadership and long for some help?
We are covering topics that you didn’t get in seminary such as hiring, firing, and strategic planning for complex ministries. We will study together the latest research on leadership and what it means to be a missional organization in today’s cultural context.I have no doubt that these people are sincere, well meaning, and desire only the best for the Kingdom of God. I just think that they have confused pastors with leaders (at least in the usual definition of leaders as the business or political or social context would speak of them). Pastors are not those kind of leaders. God has not given us special wisdom to discern the crystal ball of societal and cultural change nor has He promised to raise us up as people with a visionary perspective on the present or future. He has not equipped us for general leadership but for the special role as pastors who preach and teach the Word of God, who baptize and preside at the Lord's Table, who absolve sinners, who visit the sick and shut-in, who admonish the unrepentant, who counsel those in distress, who warn the erring, who bury the dead, who comfort the sick and grieving, who give hope to the dying, and who pray at all times for all conditions and manner of people within their care. If this is the leadership to which they are calling a cohort and if this is the pastoral vocation for which they offer help and aid, then God bless them. But is it? Or is this idea of leadership notably absent of the very things that the call documents outline as the duties and responsibilities of the pastor and the promises and pledges he makes when ordained and installed?
God knows I want to be leader. I suspect every pastor secretly wants to be. Well, perhaps that is not true. We may not want to be leaders as much as we want to be saviors who rescue the flawed and failed churches in our care if only by the sheer strength of our will, the magnetism of our personalities, the sharpness of our wit, the gift of our humor, and rally a world for Jesus. That is not our strength but our weakness.
Perhaps the gift of the ministry is that God is trying to save me from myself and my grand ideas and my sinful presumptions. Perhaps that is exactly the reason why God did not select leaders but apostles and called them to select pastors and not leaders and why the Church has followed in their steps. Perhaps that is why God took off the plate the idea that we invent, control, or manipulate the resources and set pastors aside to preach the Word in and out of season and administer the Sacraments (means He established, still controls, and uses to accomplish His purpose). Perhaps the Church suffers less from a lack of leaders than she does faithful pastors who do what God has set apart pastors to do.
Oh, well, you know me. . . always an opinion. . . and some meandering thoughts. . .