Resolution #2

This is prolly my last one, but hey, how many resolutions can you have? Besides, we are already working hard on the first one, remember?

Resolution #2 - I resolve to be the best pastor I can be.

Ohh, this one might get me in trouble. You would think, "oh, c'mon, who wouldn't want to be the past possible pastor ever?" But often I get confused about what makes a Christian leader "good" - as do folks who often rely on said leaders...

As a pastor, my vocation/calling is to bring people to Jesus Christ within my local congregation. Being clergy (specifically an elder) means I am ordained to ministry of word, sacrament, order, and service. I believe the Gospel can be uplifting but also challenging. It basically means through preaching, teaching, administering sacraments, adminstering the Church, and giving of self I'm supposed to share the Love of God.

There is an old phrase, "God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comforted" - it means when you are opressed, afflicted, lost, then Jesus is there to make you whole again. But if you are comfortable to the point of malaise within the Body of Christ, Jesus will light a fire under your butt and get you moving (the in the Bible, the distinction is made between "lukewarm" Christians and hot/cold Christians.)

I feel I can definitely comfort the afflicted. I'm not perfect by any means, but in that I feel I can accept anyone. I work hard to listen to people where the are and affirm their humanity. I believe one of the best skills Jesus had was to see past all the baggage and see the person as the true "image of God" they were intended to be.

But thats where the whole Pastor thing really poses a challenge for me. Because *I* should be challenging Christians. I, in the name of Christ, should be working to get these same Christians that I comforted once off their rears and into the world to do ministry. I should convince them to hate evil, sin, and anything not Godly instead of just accepting a midiocre prayer life, spiritual life, job, love life, Christian life, life. The BEST pastors love both ways. They love you enough to shine Christ's light into the darkest recesses of your soul but they also love you enough to hold you acocuntable. This is, I believe, love.

I think its why parents sometimes choose the less cool, more responsible path of being a parent. I've heard it said that you can be a parent or a friend, not both. And I'm wondering if this is true about being a pastor...

I fear sometimes I try to be such a people pleaser that my personal fear of rejection stops my ability to "stand up" to someone and hold them accountable. This is certainly not the "good" thing in some people's eyes. SOME people's ears itch to hear only good things and blessings and how everything is fine how it is.

I might be a decent pastor if I share God's love with the afflicted. I could prolly be a decent pastor if all I did was yell about how God will judge the lethargic.

But if I can strike the delicate balance between these two, I will be the best pastor I can be.