OK guys, I have been thinking about something and wanted to post for opinion concerning the call. 11 years ago I gave up the last church where I was pastor. No scandal, no sin, no theft, no bad feelings in any way. I just knew that God was moving me in another direction and it was time for someone new to take over there. For those of you who don’t know me well, most of my ministry has been as an interim pastor, not as a regular pastor. I have been a regular pastor twice, for a total of less than 4 years. Since I gave up that church I have served as an interim a couple of times and have also preached as a fill in, done some revival meetings and preached at other assorted opportunities, but I have not served as a regular pastor. My ministry has also always been bivocational. Early in my ministry I had hoped that someday God would lead me into a full time ministry position and I would quit my secular job, but now I see that God has been able to use me in ways he could never use a full time minister. Since that time people I know, or people I have just met often come to me with questions and problems, usually predicated by the question, “Aren’t you a pastor?” or something like that. My usual response is something along the lines of, “I am a minister and have been a pastor but I am not pastor of a church right now.” I am fine with that, but thinking of my call and my ministry, I believed when I was called that I was called to pastor, I still believe that. When one church where I was a member since then asked me about becoming a deacon I explained that I could not be a deacon because I was already ordained and was a pastor. And here is the central thought I am trying to express and would appreciate hearing your ideas. I am not, at this time, working as a pastor. I have in the past and I hope to do so again in the future, but I am not actively looking for anything, I am just waiting on the Lord. But being a pastor is not simply something I do or don’t do, it is what and who I am. People still come to me quite often with questions and problems. While I do not have a church I try to give them the time and consideration I would have given members of any church where I did serve. Often I will direct them back to their own churches if they have one, but sometimes they just need to talk to someone outside their current church. I quite often get theological questions about things they have heard in services and while I am careful to not be critical of their current pastor I do try to explain both sides of our common theological disagreements. All of our counselling and training tells us that you should not get your identity from your career, to do so is to set yourself up for failure because every job comes to an end at some point. Yet being a pastor is more than a career or job, it is a calling. It is a calling that does not go away because you move from one church or one position to another. It is not a job that we can turn off at 5 when we go home and pick up again the next morning. It affects every conversation, every interaction, and every moment of our lives. It is much more than what we do, it is what we are. So I would summarize thusly: Being a pastor is not something I was called to DO, it is something I was called to BE and something that I am, regardless of my current position within the church I am a member of. So what do you think? I would like to hear what other pastors or former pastors think on this subject.