Dream Job Part Two: What This Pastor Wants

Hogwarts
Yes, it’s supposed to be Hogwarts.  Makes sense to me!

Following up on yesterday’s Friday Five post, I had to write more about what I want in my Dream Job:

I’m a pastor.  I do have a dream job. Given the biological reality that my baby-making and child-rearing years have been fully completed, my other dream job is indeed serving the church.  It’s where I breathe; it’s what I was made for.  I have had amazing experiences of God active, visible, available and working miracles in and through what we Christians call the church, the body of Christ.  Where else would I be?

I don’t even like calling pastoral ministry a job.  Not that there’s anything wrong with so-called regular jobs.  I’ve had a few of those, from my very first job at Kentucky Fried Chicken — kids, it wasn’t always called “KFC” — to my first career as a medical technologist.  Even jobs are never “just” jobs, depending on the approach and the motivation.  Still, with those jobs, there were defined expectations, finite hours, and definite job descriptions.  It wasn’t a life-style or a life commitment.  You didn’t have to relate significantly or authentically to co-workers, bosses or customers.  And you could go home and be done with that job at the end of  the day!

I don’t expect people in my congregation to understand fully what I do, how I do it, and what it costs me and mine.  They just never could really see it all.  They also can never grasp the deep satisfaction and the incredible joy and the thrill of the “a-ha” moments that are all part of “the job.”

There are things I wish for, and they are not all that unreasonable. From time to time, I’ve enjoyed each of them, or I wouldn’t know to ask for them.

I don’t expect people who call themselves Christian to be about church things 24/7/365.  Even Jesus didn’t do that.  I do want them to cherish their relationship with Jesus 24/7/365.

I want people to be honest about their God orientation.  Is God the salt you sprinkle on the meal of life?  OR is God the life itself?

I don’t want my flock to ask “What would Jesus do?”  I want them to examine what they can do and give it their very best Jesus-informed/inspired attempt.  Is the most courageous expression of 21st century Christian faith to click “Like” on Facebook “to see if we can find 5,000,000 Christians on Facebook” with the arrogant threat that “97% of people won’t care enough” to do this?  OR does Jesus have something to say about a high standard of love in how we treat others, with special attention to loving enemies and strangers?

What this pastor wants is for people to celebrate that they belong to God, to love Jesus knowing how much Jesus loves them, and to dance with the winds of the Spirit, savoring that Spirit as the essential ingredient of all the things they have chosen from the cosmic “things of life” buffet.

What this pastor wants is to serve congregations as an admittedly not perfected person among not perfected people — as we grow surely and steadily in faith and faithfulness; as we learn — and practice — and perfect — making peace, standing for the underdog, repaying meanness with kindness, using language free of put-downs, and embodying the fruits of the Spirit in real, honest-to-goodness situations.

What this pastor wants is for parents to take primary responsibility for teaching their children the faith, instead of railing against the day “they took God out of the public schools.”  If you want Christian music, Christian prayers, and Christian Bible teaching, your church has always been the place for these — and for you and your children!

This pastor isn’t expecting a Christmas bonus check, a birthday gift or a “card shower” when I’m sick, although I do appreciate each card and each gift, and I still smile and give thanks when I recall a very sweet 50th birthday surprise party.

I want office space that works, staff that works, a consistory that works, and worship space that works.  At the very least, I want all of us to want all of that to work, and I want us to work together!

And I want water, real water.  The “living water” doesn’t quench the real bodily thirst.

If you want to know what a pastor really wants, ask her!  She might already have a lot of what she wants.  She might simply want to have a conversation with you about something other than church business as usual.

I am a blessed pastor and I have a dream job.  God knows!  And I want my congregation(s) to know, too.

5 thoughts on “Dream Job Part Two: What This Pastor Wants

  1. Wow Sharon. All I can say is that your congregation surely is lucky to have you. I love your description of your dream job and wish all "church" could be just what you described.

  2. I think your church is lucky to have you. Plus, I am blessed that you are reading my blog now. Thanks for supporting fair trade coffee!

  3. Oh, Sharon. You have no idea…I reposted a couple of things, and they went to Google reader, which I hadn't expected. So I went back to see if there's a way to undo that, and wound up re-reading a comment you made on another post from around the same time.So then I wanted to send you an e-mail, to thank you (and ask a favor!), so I popped over here to see if there was an e-mail address for you.Couldn't see one, but figured that as long as I was here, I'd read your latest post.Knowing as I do that you've been reading my "stuff" over the last few weeks or so, I honestly wonder if you didn't write this very inspired post just for me. I'm not a pastor, but I have to believe that many of these things are what we ALL should want – for ourselves and for others.Thank you so much for your very wise message. You've lifted me up a little.(BTW, I really would like to e-mail you; if you're ok with that, would you send me a message? mybackorderedlife@gmail.com)

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