We all bring to our reading certain presuppositions. It is always interesting when a pastor comes to SoulPreaching.Com and subtly accuses us of assuming that preaching is all there is to the pastor’s vocation. To be clear, SoulPreaching.Com looks at a very important segment of the pastor’s job, namely preaching. Some would argue it is the most important. It is certainly the most visible Yes we exhort the preacher like Paul to timothy to Preach the Word! (2 Timothy 4:2), but by no means do we argue that it is the only part of the pastor’s or preacher’s responsibility.
Some Kind Of Visitation
There are a number of other responsibilities that we bring into the pastorate (whether paid or unpaid, associate or senior). For example, what happened to visitation? Certainly two paycheck families have serously cut down on the amount of time that most members have to be visited. In addition, it forces all of the visitation time into a small period of time (6-8pm). But be that as it may, something is wrong when one can go years without any kind of personal contact from the pastor or staff. It may be a phone call, it may even be by email. Hey you may even make use of Facebook and social media, but something is wrong when there is no interaction with members. We say that we are swamped because we have too many members, but then the question becomes, “Do you need more staff, or better trained staff, or better motivated staff (volunteer or paid).” Also, if you haven’t made any phone calls and have not had any kinds of visitation with anyone in years, then one has to question whether it is legitimate for you to argue that you don’t have time.
Healing The Sick
If any is sick, call the elders to anoint with oil, so says James 5:14. Some of us do better job visiting the sick members, and that is good, but truth be told often politics plays into who gets a visit from the senior pastor and who gets a phone call from the trainee who hasn’t graduated from the title “minister” to “reverend” yet. Because visitation from the “senior pastor” is at such a premium, it is always interesting to see who gets these visits. One wonders if it is often connected to the prominence of the member and/or the size of that member’s monetary gifts to the church.
If not straight visitation, then how about office hours. There are some pastors who do not have any office hours. They assign that to other staff. But these interactions with members often help our preaching as we are sure to address real problems in our congregation. In addition, office hours can at least make the preacher available to the membership.
Administration – Practical Concerns
Certainly administration is another important component of the pastor’s job. Most people need to hear something about the direction that God is leading you before they will follow. Often they expect regular updates. I was a member of a church that had one business meeting in a year. You can guess there were issues in that congregation. You can’t get mad at the people for not following your vision when you haven’t articulated your vision.
Evangelism is another component of our work in the pastorate. Jesus said, Go Ye Therefore and Baptize (Matthew 28:19). Evangelism is not only the job of the pastor, but of all members, but the pastor does have a work to play in this endeavor. Evangelism should be a component of our work. Related to this is what is sometimes called “in-reach” or discipleship. Are your people growing? I see a lot of churches today setting up programs to help to grow their members spiritually, physically, socially, and mentally. This is a part of the discipleship as well.
Being a blessing to the larger community is a part of our work. Do you give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, feed the hungry. Are you leading your congregation to do these things?
Growing in your own personal walk with God is also an important component of the pastor’s vocation. That is true. If we are not growing we will be shrinking.
So yes there are a number of responsibilities. When I suggest how to preach or state things that will take some time, I do not do it becuase I am suggesting that preaching is your only vocation. I am suggesting it becuase preaching is a part of your vocation and simply put, in general, you will not improve if you do not make explicit plans to improve. Do that in your preaching, but also do it in other important areas of ministry.
Now, who is gonna volunteer to start the blog “Soul Pastoring?”