Friday, November 11, 2011

Being a Pastor

After doing this pastoral thing for nearly 40 years, I am still excited by most of what I am called to do. I wish I could do more spiritual direction with people. Call it spiritual counseling or whatever, it's the wish to help people, guide people, in their efforts to be Christian. It's being involved intimately with people as they struggle with "real" life and helping to move them to the next level, so to speak. I feel that most people who call themselves Christians live it superficially. Church membership for some is just a name on a roll, but not anything that deeply captivates them. And, I know that the only thing that can deeply captivate them is when they are actually in love with God. Years ago I feel deeply in love with God in Jesus. And, I'm still not over it. I yearn to help others find that love and depth of life that I know. It still excites me.

And, most of the work of spiritual growth is done in small groups and one-on-one. It would take enormous time to do this, but I yearn to be able to do this one person at a time.

I'm not saying that I don't get to do any spiritual direction. Preaching is a wonderful experience for me. I get to study the scriptures deeply and then stand up in the Holy Spirit's power and give what I have seen or heard or experienced to others. Worship is a powerful thing.

But, one hour on Sunday morning doesn't do all that needs to be done. I yearn to do and be more as a pastoral leader.

This time of year we have to delve into the issue of stewardship. And, whether I want to or not, we have to talk about money and giving to the church. Institutionally I am called to lead my congregaton in seeing that giving money, tithing, is part of the whole work of being a Christian.

You see, Christian faith is material. Some religions are about pure spirituality, whatever that is. But, Christian faith is about material, like a cup of wine or a loaf of bread, being the body and blood of Christ. Christian stewardship is about bringing myself and all of my life under the judgement and redemption of God.

I cannot love God (Carlyle Marney) if I love something else more (security, money, things, self).

I yearn to help people see this. We do this kind of stewardship not just to maintain the institution but to give God something to work with in our lives. The greater my investment in God's work, the greater my love for God. Where my treasure is, there is my heart. The greater my investment- a tithe is 10% for everybody as a start. A person of great wealth has something to give; a person who has little still has much to give.

Being a pastor means that I am involved in peoples lives at every level, as deeply as people want me to be. It means that my main calling and joy is in pointing people to the life that God wishes to give us all- abundant life.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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