People have asked me how it feels to be a Pastor. My initial reaction is “oh yeah, that’s right, I’m a pastor.” I heard my daughter tell one of her friends the other day that her daddy was a pastor. My reaction was that she must be talking about another daddy. When I look at my son Ethan, at 4 years old, I realize he will never remember his daddy as a music business guy, the thing that I spent the past 15 years pouring my life into. He will only know me as a pastor, and will only remember life as a “PK”
The truth is I still don’t feel like a pastor. What I feel like is a guy that God has tapped on the shoulder and asked to invite, encourage, and assist other folks to help in the cause of serving the poor, the oppressed, the vulnerable and the marginalized.
When my heart was first broken for the folks who exist in hopeless situations here and around the world, my instinct was to go make a bunch of money and then I could “afford” to do something. The truth is, God does call some folks to do that. I know some of them, and God has truly given them the gift of making money that they use for the Kingdom. My gift seemed to be losing a lot of money. I think it might be an actual spiritual gift.
What God instead did was to tap into a gift that He had given me for connecting and for gathering, and put me into this position. In the Malcolm Gladwell book, I would be called a connector. It worked very well in the world of artist management.
When I think pastor, it kind of creeped me out. Some of it is based upon negative experiences or encounters, but some of it is also based on my own pride. The idea of someone asking me on a plane, “what do you do” and me saying “Pastor” didn’t sound like much fun. I know that’s shallow, but welcome to my shallow heart.
A lot of what I had projected onto being a Pastor was a misguided notion of what it meant to begin with. The idea of a pastor who is the CEO, the corner office, type A driven personality that gathers people around him so he can do the work of the ministry. I felt like growing the church would have to be the goal. There’s no one to blame for my misunderstanding but me, but that’s exactly what it was a misunderstanding.
The truth the Gospel is our Mission. Church is just a title for what to call a group of us Christians who are working together for the mission.
The Bible is actually really clear on what the job of a pastor is. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 that if you’re a pastor, your job is to “12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”
By that definition of pastor, I feel quite comfortable, and I might even add “down right passionate.” If the idea was that the pastor had to build a big church so he could have big impact, and everything is ran through that filter I just don’t have any buy in. Does God want Conduit to be a big church? Beats me. Does he want us to be big people? Absolutely. The works of service “build us up”.
That Greek word “ergon” is the word used there in Ephesians for and is translated as works of service. It’s used in James 2 when James is communicating that it’s not faith or works, it’s faith THAT works. And then he goes on to explain just what those works are when he says that true religion that our father accepts is this, to look after the fatherless and the widow. (James 1:27) He uses the word religion because our tendency is to trade in an old set of religion, laws and rules and live by a new set of them.
We get so passionate about doing something for the Lord that we start making up new stuff so that we can get closer to the Lord. James is basically saying if you’re looking to do something, here it is. It’s a pragmatic, application to Jesus own words that we must love the Lord our God with all our heart soul and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
If you’ve been disenfranchised from the church it can be quite painful and the tendency is to cop an Elijah complex. The tendency is to think that no one gets this but me, so “I’m taking my toys and going home”. But just like Elijah, God is saying you’re not alone. There are thousands of others out there just like you who haven’t bowed.
I truly believe that movements aren’t started; they’re uncovered. God is already on the move inside the hearts of thousands of us across America who aren’t bitter, but disillusioned. Not cynical, but curious as to how we got here. There are thousands of us asking the same questions, wondering if what our experiences with church are all that there is. Conduit is just one church among many whom God is raising up and moving through.
There is more. There is an abundant life that Jesus has promised us that is available. It’s not found in endless programs, rules, initiatives and building programs. It’s not found in what we keep, but in the life that we give away. What else could he have meant when He said that we must lose our life to find it.
With that in mind, being surrounded by a punch of passionate Christ followers such as you, then I’m pumped to be your pastor. Not your CEO, not your boss, not your line of spiritual communication from the father. I’m glad to be a guy who can serve beside you as we truly become Conduit of His love to the community in front of us and the world around us.