Last week I attended the funeral service of a 54 year old nurse, daughter of an elderly couple in our congregation. Diane was a lovely person, giving care and love to patients, nieces, nephews, parents, siblings. As I was driving the two hours to the funeral with several friends, I became starkly aware again of the pain that invades even the most carefully ordered and disciplined lives. All my travelling companions are good, content folk, who love the Lord. Yet all had lost children many years ago.
Lots of things that pastors do are not included in any job description. For example, did you know how often you might be asked to be a career counselor? This sort of thing happens to me much more often than I would ever have thought. The questions I field about jobs usually don’t have to do with how much money a given job will pay. Instead the issues go deeper.
What do you do when you don't know what to do? Shaken Haiti has been asking that for weeks. We ask ourselves that, as we respond to blows and shocks. Suddenly a contract you thought was sure falls through. You believe someone favoured a competitor's bid. You count on a scholarship, but a poorer student gets it instead. You suspect a teacher wrote you a weak recommendation.
We're just starting this Network project and I'm the so-called "Guide" for this page. I guess that makes some sense. I've been engaged in this calling for more than 30 years. (Yikes!) But for all the topics that we cover, I'd like your help. For example, what books are you reading that help with any part of our calling and task?
A book review of The Unnecessary Pastor: Rediscovering the Call by Marva Dawn and Eugene Peterson.
In the city where I live, there are four Christian Reformed congregations, several other more conservative Reformed congregations, plus a host of mainline and community churches. Over the last few years, our youth groups have seen a fluctuating attendance. We don't always know who are "members".
I have never written a blogpost before and had to be told what it was. I'm still not sure. But what I am sure about is that I believe this idea of "Network" is a pretty good one. So I'll learn what it takes to be a guide for this "Pastors" section. I won't be alone, I hope. I am looking forward to other colleagues, interested persons, perhaps aspiring pastors to help make this little website helpful, informative and participatory for our callings as pastors.
Two questions to start: How do I write an introduction to something that is not really a book but an online document about significant issues facing Christian congregations—members, pastors, boards, councils, leaders, and even broader assemblies? and Who might turn up as readers of this virtual document that is fishing for browsers?
Leadership Journal offers a constant stream of conversation with both longer and shorter articles. You'll find opportunity to read and respond to regular contributions by Gordon MacDonald, John Ortberg and other less-known, but no less worthy writers.