[This is an article I was asked to write for Relevant Magazine's NEUE Quarterly. This is just how the article opens. You'll need to click on the link to read the article itself!]
I didn’t want to be a pastor when I grew up.
My father is a pastor. He knows the people in his congregation. Many of them have been there since the church began fifteen years ago. He and my mom have talked and eaten and prayed and wept and laughed with these people. They don’t use software with pictures that pop up under each name to keep track of their members. They don’t need a fancy online database with barcode keycards to remember which child goes with which parent; they know those families. They’ve been in each other’s homes. My father is a pastor.
I didn’t want to be a pastor because I didn’t think I could do that. Or maybe it was because I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to achieve, to accomplish, to make my mark, to be known, to be significant, to do “great things for God.” Yes, I led small groups and met with people and enjoyed regular moments of helping people one on one learn what it means to follow Jesus. But could I spend every day doing that? I wasn’t sure.
I didn’t want to be a pastor when I grew up. Later I learned I had to grow up in order to be a pastor. I had to put away adolescent obsessions with success and the spectacular; I had to stop being fixated on efficiency and numbers, programs and systems. The lessons came as I paid attention to two men—a farmer and a pastor—who spent the majority of their lives on the margins of society....
[READ the rest of the article, published for NEUE Quarterly, HERE. You'll need to use the arrow buttons on the top left of the page to "scroll" to page 42-44 to read it.]