A Gathering Voices post by Adam J. Copeland
Pastoral ministry is a funny thing. A few years ago, I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined myself pastor of a rural congregation 20 miles from Canada (I grew up in Florida!). But then we moved up here, I got connected to a great church, and now I really hate to leave. A number of circumstances conspired against me staying as long as we might have liked, and I preached my last sermon as pastor last Sunday. Transitions are tough. Goodbyes can be very sad.
It’s much too early to reflect fully on my ministry there, but it’s always the right time for bullet points. So, here’s my top twelve reflections on my first stab at pastoral ministry.
- mark the Bible readings carefully before you try to read them from the pulpit -- lesson learned the hard way :)
- going the extra mile with pastoral care is always worth it
- Confirmation can be totally, completely, entirely, a rocking-fun experience. (We loved the re:form curriculum.)
- In Minnesota, when visiting someone in their home, you take your shoes off at the door. You do the same in Hawaii, but not Florida or Scotland.
- Breakfast at the Caribou Grill every wednesday nourishes much more than one’s body.
- More parishioners read your blog than you think.
- It’s really very hard to schedule time to read ministry books, magazines, and the like.
- Colleagues of one’s own denomination are fine, but ecuenical pastor colleagues from the local area are even better.
- You can put absolutely anything in a Jell-O salad. Anything.
- Many things run totally smoothly without the pastor doing a thing: e.g. Presbyterian Women, potlucks, annual traditions.
- Some things run totally rough without the pastor’s help: e.g. new traditions, turf battles, the batteries in the automatic flush urinal.
- Preaching every week is a great gift, but after ten weeks in a row or so, I needed a break.
Pastors out there, what did you/are you learning in your first parish? Have you come to appreciate the art form that is a Jell-O salad?
Additional Resources from www.TheThoughtfulChristian.com
- Best Advice: Wisdom on Ministry from 30 Leading Pastors and Preachers, edited by William J. Carl III
- A Guide to Preaching and Leading Worship, by William H. Willimon
- "Children in Worship," (Adult Study)