Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What your Pastor is

(The following is a Public Service Announcement brought on by thoughts inspired by Call Night)

So, you are getting a Pastor. How exciting! But what do you do with this Pastor, how do you use him personally, apart from the corporate things, like Worship and Bible Study? There are many reasons why people might go and talk to their pastor. There are many reasons why one would use their pastor for a specific service. Some of these reasons are good, and some are bad. Let's review.

The Good.

1. Forgiveness
- Ultimately, a Pastor's chief job is to forgive sins - this is that whole John 20, Sunday after Easter thing. A Pastor is to speak words of Forgiveness - so if you want to have sin dealt with (and specifically your own sin), the Pastor is the place to go. Whenever Satan bugs you about sin, your Pastor can speak directly to you, telling you that your sin, that sin that bothers you, that this is forgiven. Good comfort.

2. The Understanding of Scripture - If you want to know what the Scriptures say, how to approach them, understand what something means - this is something your pastor should be well trained in. We are servants of the Word, and the Word is our chief tool. Hence, we should know, or if we don't know, we should know how to search and find. If you want to understand God's Word better, the Pastor is the place to go.

3. Spiritual Counsel - Do you wish to understand how to apply the truth of God in your own life - if you want to know "What does this mean" - then go to your pastor. He should be able to help guide you in applying God's Word to your specific situation. This doesn't mean he will tell you what to do always - but he will set before you the possible options that you in your Christian freedom have. Pastors can do this.

Now, the Bad

1. The Pastor is Cheap -
let's face it - Pastors don't charge. And a lot of times, the Pastor becomes the cheap, easy option. The Wedding Chapel is expensive - but the pastor is cheap. That professional counselor charges how much per hour - the pastor is free. The funeral home charges what - the pastor is cheap. If you are using your pastor because he is cheap -- that's not good. A Pastor's focus is going to be on the spiritual - and if you aren't wanting the spiritual, don't go there, even if he is cheap. If you don't want a spiritual approach - if you don't want your wedding to be about God and His love for you, don't go to a pastor. Otherwise, you won't be happy. Also, in terms of counselling, most pastors are not trained psychologists or social workers -- we can deal with spiritual aspects, but some serious problems are beyond pastors. It's worth it getting it fixed, even by that guy who charges $75 an hour.

2. The Pastor will fix. . . them - Don't go to your pastor to try to make them change someone who is annoying you. Now, if you want help in handling your own problems - excellent. If you are simply concerned about someone and don't know if pastor is aware of difficulties that they are having that he might help with - excellent. If you this X is a tool and want pastor to lay into them - bad, very very bad. When someone talks to me, I deal with the person talking to me. And frankly, that's all I can do. We have this strange idea that we can and ought to be able to control people. . . but that if I can't control someone myself, maybe the pastor can do it. No - it's not my job to control people. I teach. I show Christ. I show Scripture. And if people ignore - so be it.

3. Try to get the Pastor on your side - As a Pastor, my side is the Word of God. If the Word of God says "A, B, and C" I must say A, B, and C. If D supports A, B, and C, then I will say that D is a good idea. If the Word of God says, "Thou shall not E", then that is what I will say. If F leads to E, I'll say F isn't a good idea. That's it. Beyond the Word of God, my opinion, my thoughts don't amount to much, and I'm not going to try to make them amount to much. Besides, if my job was to sway people's opinions, wouldn't I already be swaying them to my own instead of you telling me what I should tell people? (If I thought they did I'd have sermons on why you should be a Libertarian. . . oh, but that's not really dealing with the Word of God, so I don't get to).

The Optional

1 - Your Pastor as a Person
- I like to cook. If you want to ask me about cooking - I'm all game. I like Star Wars - if you want to know whether or not stormtroopers have bellybuttons, ask away. I'm a history buff - you have a question about Feudal Japan, ask away. You want advice on fixing something. . . not so much. My mom was a nurse, so I'm a touch more familiar with hospitals and nursing homes than some are - I'll share what I know. But I don't know business management - just remember that. Your pastor will have personal and individual interests and talents that are not specifically part of the Pastoral Office. Hit him up for those if you are so inclined - but know that these will vary wildly. Enjoy them as you will, but never expect a specific one. I can teach you Greek - teach you to sing, not so much. To each his own.

Bearing these things in mind, your Pastor will be a blessing to you from God.