I’ve lived here just long enough and we are just large enough as a church that it is inevitable someone in any public setting knows that I am a pastor.
Which is why I relish those occasions where people don’t.
And maybe I relish those occasions even more when the people who don’t know I’m a pastor discover that I am one through some incident, comment, or question.
Those reactions are then priceless. And fairly predictable.
Here are the top five:
1. They clean up their language. Not a lot of F-Bombs get thrown around at Good Shepherd (at least as far as I can tell). They do at the Y (I think people forget what the third letter in the Y stands for). But if people have been using their usual, um, vocabulary, and then it slips out that I’m a pastor, apologies often ensue. With promises to change. Because my ears obviously can’t take it.
2. They talk about how they want to get back to church. “You’re a pastor? Really? I’ve been meaning to get back to church. I just haven’t found the right one.” That’s when I can pull out a Good Shepherd invite card and World Famous Refrigerator Magnet!
3. They tell me about their preacher at their church. If I’m walking in the Spirit, I cut the conversation short. If I’m walking in the flesh, I pull up a chair and say, “tell me more!”
4. They ask where I stand on one of the no-win-in-public-conversation-hot-button-issues. “So do you think homosexuals are going to hell?” “Do you believe in evolution?” “Where do you stand on abortion?”
5. They ask where I get ideas for sermons. Answer? “From conversations with people like you.”