Two Jobs

Like many pre-adolescent boys, my first job was mowing lawns.  I mowed the lawn at home of course, but then got a job mowing at my school in the summer, where my dad was a principal.  Looking back, it was a pretty simple job.  Mow, weedeat.  That's about it.  I don't think I got a job description, but if I had it wouldn't have needed to be more than one or two sentences.

As a pastor, my job description has gotten a little bit more complicated.  I didn't have a description when I came to my current church, so we put one together.  I basically wrote the whole thing, and I'm still overwhelmed by it at times.  A pastor often plays so many roles, from shepherd to teacher to administrator, vision caster, trainer, janitor, secretary, and more.  At the beginning of the week I think I can accomplish all I need to, but as the week goes on, it seems like the to-do list gets bigger, and the done list doesn't have near enough on it.

What often weighs most on pastors though is not the physical things to be done, but the spiritual health and growth of the church.  We are flooded with people telling us we need to have the vision, the plan, the ideas to take our church to the next level.  We have to be that next-level leader in order to be effective pastors, we are so often told.  When problems arise we must strategize how to overcome them and then we need to make sure we can see problems before they arise!

Things are going well for the church in Acts 6.  Salvation, growth, miracles, and more are common for the early church. But then a problem arises, that no one saw coming.  I find comfort in the fact that the disciples apparently hadn't covered all the bases in their long range planning. But when the problem is noticed, it's acknowledged, it's delegated, and the disciples return to their main tasks.  Preaching and prayer.

"But we will devote ourselves to the prayer, and to the ministry of the word."  Acts 6:4

The disciples, as they see it, have only two tasks.  To preach and to pray.  They get other things out of the way so that they can get back to those main tasks.  It would have been poor leadership to let the problem fester, but it would have been just as poor leadership to neglect the Word and prayer to solve that problem.

No job description covers every possibility that can come up, but the disciples had a simple one: Preach and Pray. When something comes up, deal with it so they can get back to preaching and praying.   We are not made told about any of the brainstorming session the disciples had to reach Jerusalem, or to their think tanks on problems they faced. They preached, they prayed. Some problem had easy solutions, like Acts 6.  Some needed more prayer and seeking God, like Acts 15. But the early church did not need them to be superheroes, or to be transcendent leaders.  They needed them to preach and to pray.

Pastor, that's what your church needs from you most.  Most of us will never be the type of transformational leaders that get their own book deal and conference.  But we can preach, and we can pray.  Don't neglect your two most important tasks for something else.


Unknown said…
Sounds like the job has become much more complicated and difficult as the years has passed. Aren't we glad that the Lord also grows and strengthens us for the task as we are obedient to Him. Thank you for writing so beautifully. and accurately.

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