I've been asked by a couple people recently if I miss being a pastor. That's difficult for me to answer, because I'm not really sure. Certainly there are things I miss about the life I lived as a small church pastor. There are also many things I do not miss. So I got to thinking about what I miss the most.
Prayer & Contemplation
Yeah... I miss the silence of days spent in prayer and contemplation. Reading. Singing. Crying. Meditating. Thinking.... Listening to God. That is definitely the part of it I liked the best. I miss that intimacy with God that came from those times. I also miss how I would picture the people in my congregation, and other friends, as I prayed over them each morning.
I really don't miss preaching. I can't see myself leading worship. Perhaps praying, or giving a communion meditation or something. But I don't miss teaching, or leading board meetings, or even attending them. And, while I never liked it at the time, and still don't have much desire to actually do it, I miss the times I spent visiting with people - whether in a retirement home or their own home. That seems odd to me as I think about it now.
This whole thing seems a little odd as I examine what I miss and don't miss. It's almost like the things I miss the most are what is perhaps most missing in expectations for our church leaders. Certainly not everyone is like that, but I don't remember being taught or encouraged in those areas when I was doing it. It seemed mostly denominational and congregational people stressed more the leadership and institutional control.
I dunno. I guess it doesn't really matter. I didn't make a very good pastor. It is what it is, and was what it was. But as I think back on some of my 'richest' moments, most of them were the hours and days spent in silence in my office or the church sanctuary, focused on communion with Him. Maybe I should have been a monk....