Archive for the ‘pastoring’ Category

Jack-of-all-Trades

March 8, 2012

My father was a very handy man.  He enjoyed working on things and constantly had some sort of project underway.  I would frequently help him work on a whole variety of things.  I was a first-class gopher.  Go-for this, go-for that.  Hand me this, hand me that.  You get the idea.  Anyway, my father would refer to himself as a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.  The idea being: that he dabbled, and was proficient in, a lot of areas, but did not consider himself a “master” of any of them.

As I matured, my skill-set turned out very differently from my father’s.  Oh, I know how to use a hammer, or a wrench, and I can manage some things around the house or garage, but my skills are nothing like those of my father.

I am a minister, and a teacher.  Currently, I am the pastor of a church, teach at a community college, lead a campus ministry,  am enrolled in graduate school, maintain a blog, teach ministry classes, mentor a young minister,  exercise regularly, help around the house, and try to have a life.

Perhaps I did learn something from my father.

I am not specialized, but generalized.

The problem with doing so many things is that you cannot devote as much time to any of them as you would if you were doing fewer things.  There is only so much time after all.  So the question becomes; do you continue to spread yourself around, doing what you can do, or do you reduce your commitments, and focus on doing fewer things, better?

That is a question that each one must answer for themselves.

Beyond Myself

January 12, 2012

I like to plan.

I like to budget.

This spring is going to be something new.

I don’t have a plan.  I not sure how it is going to work, but,  if all goes well.  I will be signing up for my first graduate philosophy class tomorrow.  I have no idea how I am going to find the time to attend class, and do the work, while still fulfilling my duties as pastor and college instructor.

Still, I believe it is time.  I have wanted to pursue a doctorate in philosophy for a long time.  I am not getting any younger, and there does not appear to be a better time coming on the horizon, and most important, I just have this feeling inside of me, that it is time to start.  This first class, I will be considered a non-degree graduate student, since I have not yet actually been accepted into the program.   That works for me.  I will test the waters before making a larger commitment.  I am trusting that the Holy Spirit is guiding me, and that God will help me complete the tasks before me.

I’m just not sure how it will work.

Philosophy and Religious Faith

November 22, 2011

I was asked by a student the other day whether or not I had problems being both a pastor and a philosophy instructor.  I told the student that, actually, for me, they work together very well.  They both address similar questions.  When studying philosophy we examine alternative approaches and answers to questions.  This enhances the understanding of the complexity and range of the issues that are addressed.  As a pastor I propose answers to those questions.  This can provide a solid foundation from which to deal with the complex questions of life.  A solid foundation, with a breadth of understanding, is a good thing.  I have greatly enjoyed being both a pastor and a philosophy instructor and believe that I will continue to expand my knowledge and understanding in the years to come.

Sampling Church

June 30, 2011

Who doesn’t love free samples?  You have an opportunity to try a product at no cost.  When my boys were little, they loved going to the stores on the days that free samples were being passed out.  They would try just about anything, after all, it was free!  If we timed it right, it could serve as their lunch:)

Recently, we had a visitor at church.  When I introduced myself, he said that he was from the area, and was “sampling” the church.  It made me think of sampling coffee.  There are many varieties and tastes from which to choose.  You will like some, but not others.  They are all coffee, and they will all have their supporters, but not everyone will like everything.

Kind of like church.

There are many types of churches.  Styles of worship, preaching, teaching  and other areas do have differences… but they are all churches.  People will attend the one that “tastes right” to them.

Anyone want a free sample?

Summer

May 31, 2011

I remember summer vacation as a child.  It was wonderful.  Sleeping in, riding my bike, playing outside, going to the local pool.  It was great!

As an adult, things have changed, but I still enjoy summer.  In my situation, I have two jobs.  I pastor a church in a small community, and I teach at a local community college.  There is no break from being a pastor, but there is a break at the school.

It is really nice to have a few weeks when I am only responsible for one job.  I will be teaching a summer class in July, and the fall semester starts in August, so June is my summer break.

I am looking forward to it.

Don’t Stop

April 28, 2011

Saturday is the day that I will participate in my very first 24 hr run.  I am looking forward to it.  I expect to be physically challenged in a way that I have never experienced.

The advice that I was given by an individual who has participated in over twenty of these events was “Don’t Stop.”

Apparently you should alternate between running and walking, but don’t stop.  If you stop you will quickly stiffen up, the pain will set in, and it will be very difficult to start again…so… don’t stop.

It’s kind of like my overall approach to ministry and life.  I have been pastor of the same church for over twenty years and every day I get up and work at those things that need to, should be, or could be, done.

Don’t stop.

Of course there is a difference.  In life, I take breaks.  I observe a sabbath rest.  I go on vacation.  There are periods of rest, but I don’t quit.  I don’t give up.  A key verse to remember for continuing in Christian service is Galatians 6:9

“Be not weary in well-doing for in due season you shall reap, if you faint not.”

I hope to complete 100 kilometers in this race.  If I do, I will get a plaque.

More important, I hope to complete the course that God has set before me.  I want to hear the words.  “Well done, good and faithful servant…”

That will be worth way more than any plaque.

Time Out

March 28, 2011

The other day I found myself sitting on the stairway that goes upstairs.  I was putting on my shoes, but I stopped for a moment of reflection.  That stairway is where we would send our boys when they needed a time out.

The boys really hated time outs.  It was an effective punishment for years.  It regularly, effectively, diffused situations that were becoming tense.

There are times in my life when I could use a time out.

It is not that I am misbehaving, rather it is times that are becoming tense.   There are moments when I could use a few minutes on the step, cooling off, and doing nothing but a little reflection.

Do you need a time out?

Gleaning Souls

February 3, 2011

I pastor a small church.  There are times when it bothers me that the church has not shown significant numerical growth.  Recently God allowed me to look at this situation with a different perspective,

I am gleaning souls.

In Biblical days, harvests were gathered by hand.  The workers would cut the standing grain,  and then bring them to an area for threshing.  During the gathering  process some heads of grain would fall to the ground.  The custom was to allow the poor to come after the workers to pick up the fallen grain.  This process was called gleaning.  It gathered up what was missed, so that none was lost.

The large churches do not reach everyone.  Everyone is important.  The small churches, like mine, are gleaning souls, so that none are lost.

A Reason to Smile

January 6, 2011

I just came from a meeting of the local Lions club, of which I am a member.  The speaker this week had recently returned from a years lay ministry opportunity at an orphanage in Rwanda.  He showed many pictures and told many stories about the boys and young men with whom he had worked, and lived amongst for a year.  In the pictures the boys were all smiling broadly.  The lives and situations that were described were difficult at best and tragic stories were common.

Why the smiles?

Each of the individuals pictured had something to smile about: a meal, a job, an opportunity for education, a friend…something.

Our speaker pointed out that our lives can be so blessed that we forget to appreciate all the things that we do have, that we sometimes grumble about perceived shortcomings, rather than enjoying the  simple things that we have taken for granted.

As I left, having eaten a good meal, to go back to a job that I enjoy, driving a van that is paid for, knowing that I will eat again this evening, sleep in a warm house tonight, and have many people in my life who love and care about me, I must admit that a smile crossed my face…just because for a moment at least I realized how I am blessed.

Examining The Faith

November 22, 2010

Why do we believe what we believe?

I believe that it is important to critically evaluate our religious practices and teachings.  By this I mean that we should think about what we believe, and about how we live.   We should be able to give a reason for the things that we believe, and say, and do.

Not everyone will have the time, or inclination to seriously probe our religious constructs.  Still it is important that  someone should, because people who are outside of the faith will challenge our conclusions with questions that we should be able to answer.

God is the source of ultimate Truth.  Our faith can stand up to rigorous examination because it is founded upon  that Rock.  The parts that fall away under critical review are the stubble and straw that accumulate over time.   The burning off of dross is a good thing that will result in a faith that is more pure.

That is a good thing.