Progressions In Ministry

I have been thinking about how my understanding of my specific role as a pastor has changed through the years.

Twenty years ago, in a small rural parish, my role was to provide comfort and counsel to people through the ministry of visitation. The first words my first District Superintendent ever spoke to me were these: “I have three part plan for your success: 1) visit your people; 2) visit your people; 3) visit your people.” So I did. A lot. And loved it.

As one of those churches grew, I then understood my role changed to the ministry of programming. So my time was in teaching classes, establishing programs for children, and leading events for youth.

In this setting in Charlotte, my role was originally focused on the ministry of leadership. I needed to learn — quickly — how to lead a small staff and a much larger church body.

A bit later, my emphasis morphed into a ministry of defining culture. The church became “full color,” and we needed that vision articulated well and articulated often.

These days? I see my role as a ministry of making space. What do I mean by that? Now I’m part of a team that makes space for the Holy Spirit to move. People have the choice of responding or not, but those of us in leadership are all about creating environments and opportunities for people to encounter the work of the Holy Spirit. That’s why First Serve and Pathfinder, in particular, have been so successful. We craft an experience and create an opportunity . . . . and people respond.

Maybe that’s why I like my job now better than ever before.