I remember when I was in seminary, I used to be pretty judgmental about my colleagues. During classes and other activities I found myself thinking to myself, “I would not want you as my pastor.” Yeah, yeah, not good, but we have all been there . . . and then we learn to appreciate the other just a tad more. What I have come to appreciate over the years is that one of the greatest gifts that the diverse nature of our clergy pool brings is that everyone can be someone’s pastor.
A recent conversation with some folks about pastoral gifts got me thinking about what I value in those who pastor me. So many people continue to guide my ministry – some without even knowing it – that I can do nothing but respond with gratitude for the vast blessings that have been shared with me through the ministry of others. While one of the greatest gifts that feel a pastor can embrace is teachability, there are a few other traits that some of the most influential pastors have had for me. Now I realize that everyone is going to value certain things: some will value broader approaches to ministry while others will want very concrete skills. Fair enough, but here are three postures of ministry that have influenced me in my ministry.
And no, these are not all of them 😉
- They see the best in me and what God may yearn for me to become even when I cannot see it myself. They then walk with me: nurturing, challenging and supporting me into God’s reality for my life and ministry;
- They live a life of integrity in which their beliefs, words and actions are consistent. Some of the greatest pastors in my life I greatly disagree with theologically, but I have come to deeply respect the consistency and integrity with which they minister.
- They are whole people sharing their lives in a manner that models ways to embody peace in the midst of struggle and gratitude in times of celebration. There is no perfection attempted or professed, but a brokenness that is lifted given to Christ over and over again so we can fully appreciate and respond to new life around us.
Like I said, these are not all of them, but there is a start. So, while you are obviously free to push back on what I value in pastoral leadership, I am more interested in what YOU think are valuable traits in pastoral leadership. So, leave some comments, blog about this yourself and/or pass it along to members of your church to get their input.
So, what say ye? What do you value in pastoral leadership?