Sunday, November 04, 2012

The unbusy pastor

Still reading Peterson's The Pastor. Still a great read.

In chapter 35 he talks about when he "resigned" from running his church... so he could be the pastor of his church. He spent so much time attending meetings and doing things that weren't necessary for the pastor to do (and that someone else should be doing), that he wasn't able to really do what he felt he should be doing as the pastor. His elders asked him what he wanted to do, and he said this on p. 278...
I want to be a pastor who prays. I want to be reflective and responsive and relaxed in the presence of God so that I can be reflective and responsive and relaxed in your presence. I can't do that on the run. It takes a lot of time. I started out doing that with you, but now I feel too crowded. 
I want to be a pastor who reads and studies. This culture in which w live squeezes all the God sense out of us. I want to be observant and informed enough to help this congregation understand what we are up against, the temptations of the devil to get us thinking we can all be our own gods. This is subtle stuff. It demands some detachment and perspective. I can't do this just by trying harder. 
I want to be a pastor who has the time to be with you in leisurely, unhurried conversations so that I can understand and be a companion with you as you grow in Christ - your doubts and your difficulties, your desires and your delights. I can't do that when I am running scared. 
I want to be a pastor who leads you in worship, a pastor who brings you before God in receptive obedience, a pastor who preaches sermons that make scripture accessible and present and alive, a pastor who is able to give you a language and imagination that restores in you a sense of dignity as a Christian in your homes and workplaces and gets rid of these debilitating images of being a 'mere' layperson. 
I want to have time to read a story to Karen. 
I want to be an unbusy pastor.

Yeah. Me too.

I know not all pastors are created the same, but it's also amazing how many people simply do not value the role of the pastor either. There seem to be a growing number who think it's a waste of time, and they just find no use or need for pastors (or spiritual leadership) in their lives at all. And I'm talking about church people! Shoot, I'm talking about some elders.

I think this is also one of the dangers of people misreading the missional aspect of church. Some think that means church should always just be about the 'doing.' Yes, we need to do... but we also need people who pray, who read and study, and contemplate, who develop deep relationships, and who worship. Our workaholic American mindset has really done a number on us as a society. We tend to call people who do the above lazy. And we wonder why things are as they are. I think we need more "unbusy" pastors. I think we need more people who see the value of having "unbusy" pastors.

But maybe that's just me...