How about some grace?
So, if I weren’t a pastor and I went to a church somewhere, what would I expect of the pastor?
I think that’s a heck of a question, one worth asking from time to time when I wonder where my time went. Am I doing more than I need to do? If so, then why? How much time am I spending on unimportant tasks? Why am I doing that?
OK, here is my list. Yours may be different, but that’s OK.
I would expect the pastor to proclaim God’s Word to me. Preach the word. What is God saying to us through his word right now? I expect that the pastor has studied and prepared some good news for the congregation from scripture.
I would want the pastor to be a regular person. Wife, kids, hobbies, joys and frustrations. If I stop by his house, it’s not perfectly kept. If he comes to my house, he’s right at home.
I would want the pastor to baptize, marry, and bury those whom I love. In those very special, emotional moments, please remind me that God is a part of those moments, too.
I would want the pastor to project grace. I don’t need someone to tell me what to do or how to do it. I already have plenty of people in my life who do that. But grace is hard to find. Maybe the pastor can bring it.
That doesn’t sound too tough, does it? Yet, when you are the pastor, you feel like everyone expects a whole lot more from you. You feel like everyone is expecting you to
- make the church grow
- keep the kids engaged
- attend any and every meeting
- bless things (crocheted prayer shawls, bibles, necklaces, urns, bricks, cross necklaces…whatever)
- keep the church sanctuary at a comfortable temperature
- go after those people who don’t even want to be a part of the church
- make people behave better
- tell people how they ought to vote at election time
- visit people in the hospital who didn’t tell you they were in the hospital because they thought somehow you knew
- perform a funeral for someone who never came to church but was a pretty good person most of the time
- conduct a wedding for a couple from out of town who wanted to be married on the beach because you live at the beach
- remember who can’t drink wine, eat gluten, or likes to drink from the common cup
I don’t know if everyone really expects those things. It’s just that I think people expect those things. We should be able to reach a compromise here. If you expect grace and I expect grace then I can let go of many expectations and simply give you the best gift of all. Grace!