Monday, October 23, 2006

Pastor Expectations IV: My Expectations
Or: This Time it's Personal

I have some expectations for myself as a pastor. They might or might not measure up to others' expectations (or even to those as related in the Discipline). I think I had some misguided expectations when I went into Seminary (and they were squashed when I had a book stolen off the book sale table or when I participated in (or watched) intramural basketball games or when I saw a fellow student playing games on his laptop in the middle of class), and I don't think that all of my expectations are completely realistic yet.

Anyway, here are some of them:
  1. Self-care is vitally important to a pastor. It's kind of like the instructions they give us on an airplane: If the cabin looses presure, affix your own air mask first, then assist others with theirs. It's pretty simple; if I'm not attending to myself, I can't attend to others effectively.
  2. Priorities are key. I have these priorities: #1 is God. #2 is my family. The church is #3.
  3. My day off is mine. If God took a Sabbath and commanded (not suggested) it, I deserve at least a day off. I won't be working 60 hours per week. That's just not healthy.
  4. A pastor can't always be alone. This is a tough one. In so many ways, this is a lonely way of life, and I will always be an "outsider." This means I have to work harder to develop meaningful relationships, especially as an extrovert who needs to get out sometimes.
  5. A pastor needs to cultivate relationships with non-Christians. If I'm not doing it, why should I think that my congregation will?
  6. I'll do the best I can, but I'm neither Superman nor Jesus.
  7. The expectations the church has for me will not trump the above.

What do you think? Are these fair? Do I need to add to them? Subtract from them?

5 comments:

Mary Beth said...

The expectations the church has for me will not trump the above.

I think that's the most difficult one you have listed, at least for me. It takes a very healthy sense of self and understanding of call to be able to pull it off. It's so easy to get enmeshed in the congregation's "stuff" and lose that sense of call and vision by trying to make them happy or appease their every need and want.

You have a great list there. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

"A pastor needs to cultivate relationships with non-Christians. If I'm not doing it, why should I think that my congregation will?"

I find that most pastors that I have known are either great in the pulpit or great at ministering to their flock. Very few excel in reaching the "un"churched or nonchristians.

I hope you keep this list in a place you will see it often (perhaps in the cover of you bible). Keep it in front of you so as not to lose focus.

John said...

A pastor needs to cultivate relationships with non-Christians. If I'm not doing it, why should I think that my congregation will?

This is something that really bothers me about seminary life. I very rarely converse with non-Christians.

If I had the time, I'd get into a gaming group. But there is never a spare moment.

I just found out that the Board of Ordained Ministry has a long 'recommended' reading list for ministry candidates. There goes the rest of my waking hours.

muzik316 said...

Good list. I'm still looking for where I am to serve but I think your list stands firm.

The Thief said...

This is something that really bothers me about seminary life. I very rarely converse with non-Christians.

I stumbled into being able to converse with non-Christians (or even with non-seminarians) by living off campus (and I only lived off campus to start with because of a shortage in campus housing).

That was a blessing in disguise, because I met a bunch of great people in my neighborhood, people I wouldn't have gotten to share with otherwise.