Happy new year.
Do you ‘theme’ your years?
Sounds lame right?
I do, it seems to work better than new year’s resolutions. I can honestly say that a yearly vision is easier to stick to than a new year’s resolution because it is the product of actual prayer and reflection and therefore applicable to the time of your life that you are in right now.
If that makes no sense, hear me out for a sec.
This year was for me a year where I received a call from Waratah to take on the senior pastor role in 2018. So I found myself in a bit of a ‘now but not yet’ phase. I determined at the beginning of the year to watch myself like a hawk when it came to trying to ‘speed up’ any process or throwing my weight around. Thus the vision was ‘2017 was the new 2009’ (2009 being my first year here when I was the most junior person in the place). That is, simply focusing on doing the tasks handed to me to the best of my ability and nothing more.
Now as I look to 2018 the vision is: ‘Wash feet and teach.” Simply put, there’s going to be a lot more diverse responsibilities upon me. It would be so easy to get caught up in the 10,000 secondaries that I neglect the two simple primaries of what pastoral work is. Serving people (ie; washing feet) and teaching the word.
This brings me to what I think is something of an anomaly as I focus on the ‘getting back to basics’ approach to ministry.
So, one day I was scrolling thru facebook and I saw this ad regarding some sort of conference with a tagline: ‘a new kind of pastoring.’ You can get a bit more info here. Now I’m not having a crack at it, it may be a really good thing to go along to
The point is, from the brief look at it that I’ve had, it seems that it’s talking about some pretty back to basics stuff. (Ie: serve your community…..and good on em’) Which makes me think, how far have we drifted for essentially the basic shepherding work of pastoring for it to be called….new?
Yes, we’re called to be shepherds of God’s flock. But on the other hand, those skills are absolutely necessary in the sphere of ‘bringing back’ those sheep that have gone astray. We all, are in a sense God’s children whether we recognise it or not. If someone was to ask me ‘how do you evangelise?’ My best answer is something like; “it’s not just people in the Church that I try to get out and visit.”
If we’ve arrived at the point where the idea of serving those around us in practical ways is being called an new type of pastoring, then what on earth has happened to the concept of……pastoring? This matters because you haven’t a shred of authority as a leader to ask a thing of anyone in your church that you are not willing to do yourself.
Can I also suggest that if this conference is any good, it will be because it’s referring to scriptures and lessons from them that are thousands of years…..old. But of course it is the modern western way to assume that our re-discoveries are in fact discoveries.
Pastoring begins with washing feet. That is precisely why the last thing that Jesus does before he goes to the cross is to wash the feet of those who will essentially be the first pastors of the Church yet to be born. Moreover, he is washing their feet because they are all still there sitting at the meal with dirty, stinking feet. And they’re doing that because no one considers himself ‘low enough‘ to do the task of a servant. So the moment Jesus does this, he is setting a new culture by dismantling the culture of ‘me first’ in the most memorable, awkward and embarrassing way.
Jesus is saying; “folks, this isn’t an option.”
If you are in a Church where the pastor feels that visiting people is ‘not their strength or role’ and therefore refuses to engage in it, I have 2 options for you. A) say something to the eldership pronto or b) get out of that church now. If you are one of those pastors…you shouldn’t be preaching. Period. refer to above for reasons why. Let me stress; I’m talking about those who refuse to. We all go thru seasons of busyness.
My new years’ vision is essentially adopting an ‘old kind of pastoring’. It’s also backing away from any temptations to label re-discoveries as new discoveries and repentance for how far and how quickly I can drift from the basics.
What’s your new years’ vision?
Maybe Old is the new ‘new’.