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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pastor

For quite some time now I’ve been searching for a basic text book to give to our CPI pastors. I’ve considered several but none seems just right. I’ve looked at excellent books, most of them written for newly graduated seminarians who’ll be assuming the pastorship of traditional Protestant congregations. The assumptions are for those young folks; and they are mainly young, though more now there are “second career” pastors who’ve retired or rethought their careers. They offer advice about “accepting a call” to this or that congregation in the early chapters. And later advice speaks of how to establish spiritual practices, how to deal with family systems, how to administer the operation effectively, delegate appropriately and develop leadership within their congregations.

Most of what is discussed in these texts is absolutely and exactly what our pastors need, but I suspect they’d have a difficult time “reading around” the Protestant assumptions. They’d point out, and rightly, that our way of calling is different, that our understanding of a priesthood call is just not the same.

We do appreciate calls to priesthood office in our own particular way. And yet I also perceive a sense of a call to pastor that we don’t generally give proper respect. I feel so privileged to work with the CPI pastors past and present. I see in them a genuine sense of being called to pastor their people! If we have such a pastor we can consider ourselves twice-blessed.

Those of us who associate with pastors across the Mission often speak of this call. It isn’t exactly like the call to a priesthood office. It really does seem to be much more like the traditional Protestant calls than we as Community of Christ tend to give credit for. I have had lots of association with those Protestant pastors over the years too. They speak of the urgency of the voice of God they feel, some of them from childhood. Others, often those “second career” seminarians, in the midst of a life already planned and underway. And yet they hear a call they cannot deny. A call to pastor!

As our church and our Mission work harder to offer training, mentoring, discipling and support to our pastors (CPI being only one way) we note one of the by-products is this growing awareness that we have men and women who also feel this undeniable call to the office and role of pastor!

Just as we as members watch for potential deacons, elders, evangelists, etc and pray to receive spiritual confirmation of those calls, should they be forthcoming, I think we need to begin to watch for and to discern the call to pastor. I’m not suggesting we change the way we do things. I just think we can deepen our realization that God is calling in ways we may not have noticed before.

This is not to suggest we adopt a Protestant practice of fully-funding all our pastors. That’s not going to happen! In fact they are more and more adopting our bi-vocational model. It is to suggest we give deeper consideration to what it means to feel a call to pastor. And as a prophetic people to be part of this discernment. I’d like to read your reaction to this idea if you feel led to Comment.

Posted by Marion

2 comments:

  1. The call to be a pastor cannot be denied. The call to not be a pastor is harder to discern.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sometimes harder, but also important.
    One of the reasons I'm calling on the membership to be more aware.
    Thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete