Called to Pastor or called to BE a Pastor?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by North Carolina Tentmaker, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  2. exscentric

    exscentric
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,253
    Likes Received:
    16
    Eph. 4 lists pastor as a spiritual gift. I would say it is how you are gifted, not who you are though don't know the distinction is needed in this topic, I know what you speak of. It's just what we do. I spent my life doing similar to yourself though I have never felt that pastor was my gift but rather teaching.

    I felt called to prepare to be a pastor but along the way I felt that was not my gift though I filled in at times in a minimal way - preaching teaching, never the shepherding end in an official manner - did some as it came along but always felt totally lost/inefficient in that area in one to one though many felt my messages/lesson were fulfilling their needs to be encouraged, challenged etc.. Maybe in my training I missed One on one 101 or something :)
     
  3. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    16,653
    Likes Received:
    158
    I am not sure what you mean by "pastor". Are not all Christians called to pastor each other in various times and ways?
     
  4. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    Honestly? I have to define what a Pastor is here? Not just on BaptistBoard in general, but in this particular forum set up specifically for pastors?

    Ok, here goes.

    By “Pastor” I mean the overseer or elder charged with the administration of a local Christian Church.

    I mean the same word transliterated episkopos in Greek, translated bishop or overseer in the KJV. It appears in Acts, I Timothy, Titus, Philippians, and I Peter.

    I mean the noun defined by Webster as: a spiritual overseer; especially a clergyman serving a local church or parish.

    I am using the word Pastor as a noun, not as a verb or action. “To Pastor” could be an infinitive verb using his noun but to use the word pastor as a verb would be incorrect grammar, although I do understand what you mean CTB.

    I would say that while we are all called to minister to each other in different ways, not every Christian is called to be a pastor.

    Thank you exscentric, I don’t think you missed any training, just recognized your different gifts. Everyone is not good at the one on one.
     
  5. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    16,653
    Likes Received:
    158
    Thanks for the reply. I agree. In a way all are called to minister, each from his or her own gift.
     
  6. exscentric

    exscentric
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,253
    Likes Received:
    16
    Ahhhh, NCt you are showing your pastor side when being sooooo patient. :) I was about to prove that I was not a pastor with a different reaction :)
     
  7. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0

    Yes, and I certainly would not put myself above someone else simply because our gifts were different. All part of the same body.

    Teaching is certainly part of being a pastor and I Ti 3:2 describes the pastor (bishop) as apt to teach among other things. In Romans 12 there is a specific difference between prophesy, teaching, and exhortation as each are listed as different gifts. Yet good preaching often involves all three to some degree.

    I have always treasured the one on one opportunity to connect with another believer and help them in some way. Often when I get caught up in the secular world and my secular job someone will come up to me and share some kind of need and all of sudden it’s like a switch flips in my head and I think, “Oh yea, that is why I am really here.”

    That is what I am trying to say about BEING a pastor not just doing a pastor’s job. Being ready always, not only to give reason of our hope, but to minister to those around us and allow God to use us to meet their needs. That does not go away just because you change your office.
     
  8. plain_n_simple

    plain_n_simple
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,887
    Likes Received:
    5
    How do you know your call was authentic?

    What was the defining moment you knew it was a call from God and not a mere career choice?
     
  9. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good question PNS, even if a bit off topic.

    In my case I knew my call was authentic when I saw what I felt in my heart confirmed in others. Others being other Christians who’s opinions I trusted and respected.

    The defining moment . . . had to be a conversation I had with an older pastor who was my pastor for a time and a mentor for decades. I told him what I had been feeling and how God had been moving me and that I felt called to ministry, and he looked at me like I as an idiot and said, “Yea, I’ve known that for months, I see the call and change on you every day.”

    As far as a career choice, I have never been able to make ministry a career, so that never came into the picture. I was working a secular job when I was called, and I still am. At the time I thought, hoped even, that I would someday quit my “day job” and be able to work in a full time ministry position. But that is not how God has worked. What he has enabled me to do, as a bi-vocational pastor, is to minister to churches and in places where no full-time minister could. I have the freedom to preach for nothing and have many times. I have the ability to come in and help churches that are in distress and sometimes have no resources. It has been a wild ride so far.

    I understand the trap of a career choice someone could make. Someone who is a good student and a good public speaker might look at ministry as a good way to make some money. But for me that was never part of it.
     
  10. plain_n_simple

    plain_n_simple
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,887
    Likes Received:
    5
    Thank you for sharing
     
  11. prophet

    prophet
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    2
    Bishop is an office, appointed by men.
    Pastor is a gift, given by God.
    Presbytery is the council of elders who lead a church...
    1Ti 5:21
    21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

    No single elder is to be preferred.

    Maybe this is you:
    1Co 12:28
    28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, *governments*, diversities of tongues.
     
  12. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    A shepherd can devote time and energy to one lamb of the flock, or can protect and feed the whole flock. All believers are "ministers" servants of our Lord, with the calling to love one another, bear one another's burdens, ect.
     
  13. padredurand

    padredurand
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Messages:
    4,384
    Likes Received:
    20
    By definition you probably are not but I'll leave all the technical and semantic arguments to others. It's refreshing to read an open -if not transparent - expression of what's on your heart. Can you be a pastor without a pulpit? Can you be an under-shepherd without a herd? In strict technical and semantic terms? I've heard once you've been a Marine you are always a Marine but I digress....

    Look what you have done in the absence of a regular pulpit: you've continued to grow in the Christian faith through the discipline of discipleship; you've made yourself available for the public proclamation of the Gospel; you've taken the time to listen to folks in need; and, most importantly, left open the door of return to a regular pulpit when the Lord has need of you at that time and place. In that regard I would consider you as much a pastor as anyone.

    I'm heading into my 23d year of ministry in a few months. Of that, I was full-time for 7 years. Folks ask me what I do. Vocationally, I do a variety of jobs for a cancer treatment center that is part of a large regional hospital. I get to do 40+ hours of hospital visitation with cancer patients every week! It is a wonderful opportunity and I have access to folks I would not otherwise. The secular jobs keeps me busy but it is not what I do or who i am. I am a pastor. I have pastored large downtown churches for a mainline denomination and currently pastor a 35 member church plant that can hardly afford to give me gas money. God's claim on my life did not change everytime I moved to a different church or the situation changed.

    That's what God has for me for this season. It is subject to change. You are doing what God has for you this season. It, too, is subject to change. Keep the faith NC Tentmaker.

    PS: I did a stint as an intentional interim. You deserve a medal for that.
     

Share This Page

Loading...