I’m having a blast visiting and working with congregations of the synod through our Congregational Wellness Weekend event. One of my favorite parts of the retreat is when we discuss Vocational Wellbeing and I ask, “What’s your pastor especially good at? What’s he gifted for? What’s his passion, the things he does in ministry that come the most natural?” It’s always a great conversation.
Then I ask, “What’s hard for him? Which parts of ministry don’t come as natural and easy for him? What’s he not so good at?”
Hey, it’s okay. Nobody is great at everything. Why not just talk together about our weaknesses and see what happens?
I find that people in congregations have a very good handle on their church workers’ strengths and weaknesses. That can be a little disconcerting for us. We are typically “people-pleasers.” For the vast majority of pastors who are their church’s only called professional, there seems to be an even greater compulsion to over-function in those areas that are not our strong areas, to give the impression that we can do it all.
I don’t think that’s very helpful.
For one, we’re not fooling anyone. I tried that for years and years only to discover that the leadership of the church, those who knew me best, could easily see through my bluff. They could tell the difference between what my friend Dave Ludwig calls “Gettas” and “Gottas.” The church’s ministry was much better served when we were just up front about it and wrestled with what to do about it together.
For another, when I’m trying to do ministry for which I am not the most well-equipped, I’m in the way of someone else serving according to their gifts and passions, their interests and experiences, which are quite different from my own.
There are certain aspects of the church’s ministry that belong to the Pastor and to him alone. Those things are non-negotiable, although the list may be somewhat shorter than we’d like to admit.
When we “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12) we’re discovering the “WE” of vocational wellbeing, the joy of the various members of the body of Christ working together in ministry.
For this we were called, all of us in the body, not just the commissioned and ordained. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
At our Ministry Team Wellness Workshops, where only the professional servants of the church are present, I do the same exercise, asking the team members at church or school to identify the pastor’s or the administrators strengths and weaknesses. It has proven to be an excellent exercise in strengthening the team, in building the unity and harmony, the trust and respect that is essential to team ministry and vocational wellbeing for all.
Have you had that conversation with the people alongside with whom you serve? I’d love to hear about it! What are you learning about the Power of WE in your vocation?
Thanks for reading.
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