Thursday, July 13, 2006

pastors put people before tasks


I'm reading a book called "Compassionate Leadership". Here's a good quote:
Peter's first exhortation to Christian leaders was to shepherd the flock of God entrusted to their care (see I Pet. 5:2). The term "shepherd" is used synonymously with that of "pastor." And certainly the apostle's original readers were quite familiar with the imagery he was using in his exhortation.

In the early twenty-first century, we use this imagery to reflect the compassionate servant leader who seeks to shepherd God's people. The entire concept of serving as a leader in Christ's kingdom relates to people more than tasks. Whatever the ministry might be to which God has entrusted us, we are directed to shepherd the poeple whom God is calling us to lead. (p.30)

8 comments:

Michael said...

How true. I have to say, however, that my new charge is a complete about-face from my previous charge. I still feel as though they are "checking me out" as opposed to my last charge, a warm body that received me and my family as their own almost as soon as I walked in the door. Of course, they had just had a bad experience with my predecessor so this may have explained a lot.

Still, it is hard to shepherd a people who don't seem to want it or welcome it. Know what I mean? In fact, I almost feel like an intruder.

Jason Woolever said...

michael, that sounds pretty tough! hang in there. hopefully they'll begin to trust you as they discover that you love them and aren't trying to manipulate them.
the arranged marriages of the itineracy sometimes feel stiff, huh?

Michael said...

I never thought about it quite like that but "stiff" is exactly how it feels. The only thing I know about their former pastor is that he was a retired Baptist minister (don't ask me how that happened!) who just got too sick to continue. So maybe they feel as though they got a pastoral change when they were not quite wanting one.

Jason Woolever said...

huh! and you wonder what that baptist preacher may have been saying that created animosity toward the itinerant system that methodists employ.

Michael said...

I just finished a 2-part series on the Sacraments today. I had begun with Communion last Sunday and was led to believe that there "could be a problem" if I tried to serve Communion every Sunday (my last charge whole-heartedly embraced Communion each Sunday). At any rate, I left that gathering with a very cold feeling.

Today with baptism, I got a much better response. We'll see how that plays out later as I am aware that there are several young children in the congregation who have not been baptized.

Ministering to these smaller, rural churches which tend to be rather conservative - if not downright fundamentalist - is quite a challenge, to say the least. I'm just going to bide my time and go a bit more slowly. It may well be culture shock!

Jason Woolever said...

wow. I haven't seen too many UM fundamentalists in my day. Are you in Arkansas?

Michael said...

Yes, I'm in Arkansas. These rural Methodists are a strange lot, though. Being a part-time local pastor, these are the kinds of charges I will get. I would like more later, but these people need pastoral care, too.

However, my last charge, for instance, hungrily and eagerly accepted Holy Communion every Sunday. My new charge, very similar in almost every way, does not seem so thrilled. I'm excited about the latest issue of "Circuit Rider", though. It deals with Communion. I can't wait to finish it.

Jason Woolever said...

it seems very clear from reading Acts that the primary reason that they came together was to partake of Communion. It seems to be central to a New Testament understanding of worship. That's cool that you are so excited about the sacraments.