note: this post originally appeared on Ministry Matters. Please head over to their site to see all the other great resources and articles. (www.ministrymatters.com)
This may make me sound like I’m either complaining or not good at my job. Neither is the case, though the latter can be debated. The truth is, I’m not a mind reader. Now I bet some of my colleagues have such a Bat-phone line connection with God that with one look at your face they know your niece’s goldfish died. I don’t have such an in with God. I wish I did.
It may be that I’m just not as holy as some of the pastors you see on television who can tell you what God’s will is for your life (for a nominal fee.) I have to rely on a different source. You. Now I understand you might think I should know all the things that are happening with you. I really do want to. Most of my fellow pastors would agree. We love to know the things that are going on in your life. We want to hear all about it. But there’s a good chance that we won’t know if you never tell us.
I’m a lot duller than I’m given credit for. I’d be one of the disciples Jesus would look at incredulously and ask, “Are you so dull?” Because you see, I’m a bit slow. Dense even. I definitely live up to the title associated with my moniker: I’m a dreamer. Now this has its upside—it makes me optimistic. It helps me come up with great ideas. But it also has a terrible downside in that it keeps me inside my own head. When you add my severe introvertedness on top of that — I just need help. From you.
If you don’t tell me that your closest third cousin who lives on the other side of the country passed away, there’s a chance that I won’t know until it works its way through the grapevine of the church. Or if you’re in the hospital for a minor procedure and didn’t tell a soul, and you’re upset with me for not checking up on you, it’s probably because I just didn’t know. I know this sounds like an excuse (it is) but there are other people in the church that, God bless their soul, need me for something. You may be thinking, “Why does my pastor spend so much time with them and not much with me?” Well, there’s a small chance it’s because I don’t like you. ( I know, I know. Horrible. But pastors are people too, and like all people, we’re broken.) But the more likely answer is that it’s because the other folks are probably letting me know when they need to see me.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot a pastor needs to do throughout the week. We can’t always go through the directory to call folks one by one to see how they’re doing. We’d like to be able to do this, but things sometimes happen that take us away from the desk. Like the bathroom flooding. Again.
You’re not bothering me if you’re at the hospital and want a visit. Call me. Don’t think you’re being a burden if you’re struggling and need to talk. Call. I want to have conversations about your faith, God, and your life’s journey. Believe me, I would rather do that than answer emails from the District Superintendent.
Sharing life is one of the best things about ministry, and something I feel honored and privileged to do. But sometimes, I need your help to let me know what’s going on in your life. Don’t give me too much credit and assume that I know everything. I don’t. So let me know. I’ll be grateful that you called to share what’s going on. And I’ll definitely make my way to visit you soon.