An organization was leading a training seminar for professionals. At one point the leader asked participants to imagine themselves setting out on an adventure with only ten items in each of their packs. A few minutes later, they were told that an imagined mishap had occurred and that it was necessary to leave behind five items and keep five.
As pastors, we spend a great deal of time sharing in the
ongoing lives and adventures of our congregants and community members. We are
also called, literally, to come to love and suffer with them when
disappointments, disasters or deaths occur.
What do you get when you take an attractive, intelligent kid born into a loving, happy, Midwestern family and relinquish him for baptism, telling him he is now "engaged to profess Christ"? Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, that's who.
A man once bought himself a cemetery plot and a lawn chair, and then took a week of vacation to sit on the chair at his plot. I don't think he sat there because the view was pleasant or because he was proud of his new property. He did it because he wanted to see his life from the point of view of his death and his death from the point of view of his life.
All preachers need at least one trusted conversation partner
whom we can call in the middle of the night, if necessary--someone with whom we
can share our sermon ideas (they even listen to our sermons read out loud), and
from whom we can get advice and encouragement and even helpful critiques.
What do young people look for in church? In research done in 250 congregations among people ages 15–29, respondents repeatedly said they were looking for congregations that were “welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring.” The researchers began to call this set of concerns the “warmth cluster.” Worship bands and ministry programs are not a priority, nor is busyness. Even “niceness” doesn’t work with young people. What they apparently seek at church is a sense of family, which calls for intergenerational relationships (Washington Post, September 6).