I got a hair cut yesterday. Getting my hair cut is always a little bit of an interesting experience for me. It's interesting because it never fails to remind of how I don't fit the "pastor" stereotype. Editor's Note: A fact about myself that I don't mind at all.
I only get my hair cut about every three or four months. Basically, whenever it's absolutely necessary. You see, I have curly, thick hair. So, when I let it run wild, it really runs wild. Also, I don't shave on a regular basis. If you see me with a three week old beard, and you ask me if I'm growing it out, the answer is usually no. I just lack the ability to shave without cutting myself. Anyway, both of these things contribute to the reaction of "You're a pastor?" that I get everytime I get a haircut. I guess a pastor is supposed to look like the guy in this picture.
I'm almost two years into being a pastor. My story thus far has had some ups and downs and, in earnest, I have a long way to go. But, over the course of my first two years, I've developed what I consider to be a basic job description for anyone in ministry; pastor, minister, coordinator, director, or volunteer. It's comprised of three things that, I think, are at the core of doing ministry. This kind of helps keep me in check as I try to run the race as best I can...
1) Get To Know God. I've never had a job that is so intrinsically tied to who I am personally before. My abillity to minister to others, as well as my ability to continue on in life without losing my sanity, depends squarely on my pursuit of God. Somebody once told me that you can't lead people to places you haven't been. While I don't necessarily think that this is always practically true, it is completely true in our relationship with God. We can only love as we have been loved. We can only feed others with what we've been fed.
2) Get To Know People. This is actually the toughest part of the job. It doesn't so much matter if you're a "people" person or not. Nor does it matter if you're an extrovert or an introvert. The simple truth about ministry is that we are called to spread the message of God's big love for us to other people. You can't do this without getting chest deep in the messy business of relationships. We need to learn peoples' stories. We need to walk far with them. We need to support, encourage, grieve, laugh, eat, and wonder with them. We need to love them.
3) Help the people get to know God. This is why we do what we do. Bringing the ultimate love to others who haven't heard. It's not an optional calling so much as it's an overriding command. We all have different styles, but we share a common purpose. When we give our lives to God, He comsumes every part of us. When you're that comsumed, you can't help but sing about it as loud as you can to everyone who'll listen.
OK, I have to go be a server at our College program now. Avner's playing. So I don't want to be late...