I was never a leader in high school. I wasn't a captain of the sports team. I didn't inspire or draw people to be my friends. I didn't see my role as a pastor being a leader in my previous appointments. But this time was different. I had to own the role and its responsibility.
So as I read and studied the roles and responsibilities I was supposed to take on, I discovered that I am not suited for them as I am. I always thought that my mission as a pastor was to help people become better Christians. It seemed that my gifts and calling were such that I was to increase their ability to live the faithful life. I assumed that my life would develop naturally alongside.
Reality is, though, that I have spent so much focus on others that I didn't manage my own development like I should have. And that didn't become crystal clear until I read this statement. "Christianity thrives today where leaders embody the spirit of Jesus."*
I heard coming through seminary that pastors should minister from their overflow. Picture a glass of water. The content of that glass represents the spiritual vitality of the person. If the contents are poured out, as in giving of self in ministry, the glass empties. The glass must need be refilled periodically. The problem with ministry is the constant need to be poured out. This doesn't allow for adequate infilling to prepare to do ministry.
A better ministry model is to be constantly in a state of being infilled. It is to stand in the life giving flow of God's Spirit to the extent that the person overflows with spiritual vitality. What spills over out of the life of the person becomes the source of ministry. But I have yet to find the way of that model for my own life.
If Chrisitianity is going to thrive where I embody the spirit of Jesus, then I had better find the way. St. Andrew's is a fantastic church. It is filled with energy and excitement. It is in the ministry of transforming lives of the people of Claremore. It is building on the Kingdom of God in Northeaster Oklahoma. But the pastor is feeling a little winded.
As I look at my desk I see the following things:
- The need for a ministry with youth at St. Andrew's but no one to step forward with the passion that will lead;
- A proposal for 3 major capital improvements in the church (chairs in the sanctuary, a roof, and a new copier) and not enough money for any one of them;
- The upcoming Women's Expo where I will be addressing the practical needs for a healthy financial budget and promoting Angel Food ministry;
- Youth material reminding me of a camp curriculum I help write, a camp that is coming up in 3 weeks, and an executive committee I am a part of;
- A reminder for bulletin material for the end of one sermon series and beginning of another;
- My notes for a Bible Study, and a Sunday School class;
- The beginning of research for a book I want to write;
- The book of Discipline, John Wesley's 52 standard sermons, and E. Stanley Jones' Abundant Living
- A stack of wafer cookies and a cup of coffee (lunch)
- assorted pieces of mail, notes, business cards, and yunk that will not be touched.
My mission is to improve my daily walk with Jesus in order that others my follow Christ more closely.
May this page and all you who read it bear witness to my pursuit.
*(Bill Easum, Unfreezing Moves, Abingdon Press, 2001.)