It is Tuesday, May 19 in the saga of our 2020 pandemic. It is another cool and cloudy day. Life marches on for each of us….So separated…yet…inexorably connected. I have been reading the increasing criticisms of our Illinois Governor regarding his stay-at-home orders and the reopening of businesses, guided by the science of the spread of COVID-19. Sadly, the preponderance of the criticisms revolve around political affiliations. The Coronavirus does not have political loyalties. We are in the midst of attempting to save lives. Nothing else should be in the picture when it comes to the precious lives of your family! I have voted for republicans and I have voted for democrats…neither of them will be siting by my bedside when I draw my last breath.
However, today, I have been thinking about what a gift that good pastoral leadership is. Having been a christian for 51 years, I have experienced several pastors. All of them had strengths and weaknesses. But, what is fundamental to a good pastor. I think that the job requires, in the words of the old holiness people, someone who has a calling on their life. I am always seeking someone that the job of pastor is more than a paycheck. In my early history with the church…I aspired to be a pastor. I have served as an elder or a trustee or a deacon…in every church that I have been affliliated with. I have known some of my pastors, very well. I have had a front row seat into what motivated them. They have disclosed to me what their inner thoughts and fears and hopes were for the congregation that we were a part of. During the past over half century…a few attributes of a good pastor…have stood out.
A good pastor has the ability to connect with each member of the congregation. They posses empathy. They have the rare quality of humility. A called pastor does not take their self to seriously!
A quality christian leader has the ability to bring the diverse members of a congregation…together. I was gob-smacked when I witnessed the coming together of our congregation during a play that our pastor, Kerry, wrote. His expertise as a play write translated into a heaing and unity that I had not witnessed…in some time!
A good pastor should have the ability to telegraph to each member of the church that they are vital to the mission of the institution. Inherent in this message is that the pastor values you as a person that God has called to be an important member of the group.
A pastor will sit by your bedside when you or your family are ill. This person will call you and pray for you…and get involved in the down-and-dirty business of your life…and they will assist you in bearing your burden!
A good pastor will sit by your bed-side when you are about to make your last bow on the stage of life. They will care enough to become invested in your suffering and your grief…and your loss.
I remember every pastor that cared about me. I see every pastor that was willing to help me or members of my family…when it seemed that no one cared. In the darkest of life days…a good pastor…will share in your sufferings and weep when you weep…and laugh with you…when your are joyous!
Ministry is not for the fainthearted. The requirements cannot all be written in a job description! Ministry comes from the heart…and the Holy Spirit…and a commitment to the emotional baggage of a group of people…