Shepherding The Imperfect Pastor


September 2012

There’s an old joke about the perfect pastor being, among other things: 29 years old with 40 years experience, an individual with a burning desire to work with youth, who nevertheless spends most of his time with senior citizens, someone who condemns sin roundly but never hurts anyone’s feelings, and the sort of minister who can make 15 home visits a day while still remaining handy in his office lest he be needed there. I kept a print out of this little bit of humor on my desk for years to remind myself that not only am I not the perfect pastor, (he is a “he” after all) but that the perfect pastor doesn’t exist.

However, the expectation that a pastor can and should be all things to all people at all times is very real and it is an expectation typically felt most strongly by none other than the pastor. I try to keep those expectations in check, but as the church continues to grow so do the number of places I could be at any one time and the number of people I could be visiting in any one place. All of which makes me realize that -perfect or not - a good pastor is someone who isn’t afraid to admit that they can’t do it all; a good pastor is wise enough to ask for help.

Lucky for me, our church - being the sort of church that it is, help is on the way.  Over the summer I gathered together with a small group of individuals who will be helping me with the day-to-day pastoral care needs of our church. They will be known as our shepherds and I’ll be introducing them to you all during worship on September 16 so that we can acknowledge their calling to serve the church and bless them on their way. Our shepherds will help me with home visits, check in on many of our less mobile members in person and by phone, lend a hand and an ear as needed, and let me know if the people in their care are in need of a visit from the pastor.

This will hopefully relieve me enough to keep regular office hours. I’m going to plan on being in the office on Wednesday mornings from 9-12, barring any emergencies, for people who might need to drop in. As always it is still best to call ahead to make sure I am there and of course I am still available by appointment to meet you at the church or a more convenient location at other times as well.

Our church has definitely grown beyond the size that one pastor can manage, and yet it never ceases to amaze me how the Lord provides. I have every faith that my “weakness” and lack of “perfection” will make our church even stronger and more whole as our shepherds are empowered to provide care within our community. God is good and so, my friends, are you.

See you in September,
Pastor Sarah