Life at the parish goes from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye. As pastors we go to the church thinking the day will be about one thing and so quickly it becomes about another. Often tragedy or sadness take priority. We jump into shepherd mode to care for the sheep. After a while it may be tempting to not plan for anything but just take it one day at a time. That may even include not preparing very much for sermons.
Is that the best way to approach day to day ministry?
The result may be the regret spoken about in our previous blog. Days turn into weeks and months and even years. Nothing seems to move forward. Nothing seems to change. Just putting out fires, moving from one issue to the next.
It can be draining and discouraging.
The alternative and the preference is to live more and more into intentionality.
Yes, intentionally prepared for emergencies for they will surely come.
Yes, intentionally prepared for the panic or the tragedy. Being a good pastor who provides pastoral care is vital. Yet we can intentionally choose how to do it, such as choosing not to do it alone.
Pastors are not the body of Christ.
So pastors can very intentionally choose to do what is going to take the church from where it is to where God wants it to be. Certainly all being accomplished by God’s grace and favor.
So where do we start?
Certainly there must be clarity around where God wants you and the local congregation to go. Extending God’s kingdom through disciples who make disciples? Yes. Equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4)? Yes. Perhaps there is already a shared vision of what that preferred future is. Yet maybe not yet.
The next step is to spend time reflecting in view of that future. What has happened? What did I do and not do? What could I have done or chosen not to do? Who could I have involved with me? How could I have enlisted the body of Christ to equip them and nurture them in their relationship with Christ? The questions are many.
This step is called action learning. It is a search for new or renewed awarenesses or discoveries. It is a hard look at yourself that often takes a thinking partner like a coach to ask you questions you may not think to ask yourself. Then armed with that new or renewed awareness or that new discovery or learning, what you will intentionally do differently or do next will often be fairly self-evident. Then the next step is to actually define what you will do and do it.
Action, reflection, intentional choice.
- Where are you going?
- How are you reflecting?
- What are you going to do?
- What awarenesses do you have about yourself and your ministry?
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