Both photos by A. Scott Hewett
“God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” – C.S Lewis
A couple of years back, I took an online course for pastors at the American Lutheran Theological Seminary. A friend thought it might be helpful for me to see what this denomination teaches about the role of pastors. The professor spoke at length about how to handle things like abuse, etc.
The thing that impressed me is how the Law and Gospel is integrated into how pastors in the LCMS or AALC respond to difficulties. They desire to love and support the people in the church. They are other centered and opposed to being self centered and self absorbed.
As I pondered this, I thought of those pastors in my life who reflected kindness and selflessness: Howard, Pete, Jim, Wade, Wayne (x2), Lew, Rich and Joanne. Each of these individual made a profound impact in my life. Yes, they can all give really good sermons. That’s not what I’m talking about.
I read a tweet by someone claiming that a current celeb pastor points to Jesus instead of himself. I’m not sure I believe that is true. However, I will concur with the sentiment. Each of these good pastors that I have mentioned supported me and made me feel valued and loved. They represented Jesus well and didn’t make their ministry about themselves.
Yesterday I read the following post at The Gospel Coalition website.
I was curious to see what was stressed by the author, David “Gunner” Gunderson. Before I began, I decided to read his bio at his church. May I make a suggestion? That is what all of you should do prior to reading a post by an unknown. It sometimes allows you to understand the background of the writer.
Many leaders are doing the same thing right now as a worldwide disruption demands urgent decisions, adjustments, communication, and a different kind of energy. The relentless work is noble and understandable, but be warned: it’s not sustainable.
…Many leaders, teachers, administrators, supervisors, health workers, parents, and public servants are working overtime these days. You’re tracking the news, processing information, collaborating with others, making decisions, caring for your people, and implementing big adjustments both in your own lives and in your areas of responsibility.
But don’t stay in crisis mode for long.
“Don’t stay in crisis mode for long?” It seems to me that the author is overlooking the very real battles by those in his church who are facing this pandemic. Health car professionals are being called on to risk their own health to care for the victims of this disease. They often do so without protective devices such as masks and gloves.
People who work in supermarkets have their own battle with ornery customers demanding to buy more than their allotted number of toilet paper rolls. In their day to day life, they are being called to closely interact with customers, potentially exposing themselves to the virus. The truck drivers are working overtime carrying much needed goods to stores.
Most of these folks would like to get plenty of rest and walk along on beaches but they can’t at this time. That is what is known as a sacrifice.
He stated how hard he worked during Hurricane Katrina and how he needed to take a break and walk on a beach in Galveston. As contrast, I watched a pastor working himself into a sweat, loading trucks to bring much needed supplies to those impacted by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. This included very heavy generators. There have been no sermons on how hard he worked during those times. He didn’t post an article in some online site for pastors. Instead, he complimented those in the congregation who helped in this endeavor. I smiled, knowing how hard he worked. Yet he was pointing the finger away from himself.
I would like to see this author write something about the sacrifice of many people who are working difficult jobs. They know they are being exposed and will not be able to take off to walk the beach. He could point to some of the people in his church who are sacrificing much in this pandemic. His people need to hear how much he appreciates their work. They need to have his support right now, in the midst of their weariness. Mo
Unlike a hurricane (and we get those here as well,) we face an enemy which is unrecognizable. In fact, it is likely that some of the people in the author’s orbit are unknowing carriers while others will get sick, perhaps due to their essential jobs. They need to hear from him something more than *get rest.*
I believe that Masters Seminary breeds pastors who are self focused on their sermons, their membership covenants and their authority. I would like to see them try a bit harder to be people focused. I know they can do it if they want.