What do you want to be?

I’ve been writing a lot lately, just not posting on my blog. I wrote my first short story, which I plan to submit to a writing contest by this weekend. Since I’ve been neglectful of my blog readers (both of you). I’ll share with you some thoughts I jotted down a while back about the importance of “being” as it relates to pastoral ministry.

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When my daughter Maddy was a little younger someone once asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up. “A mermaid!” she responded enthusiastically. “No,” her questioner said, ‘I mean what job do you want to do when you grow up?” Quick as a wink Maddy replied, “You asked me what I want to be, not what I want to do.”

I’ve had two favorite pastors as an adult. One is an old-fashioned, fundamental Baptist preacher, who likes to be called “preacher,” not “pastor” or “reverend,” and listens to Gospel radio. He never finished the little, unaccredited Bible college he attended and has pastored the same church for 25 years. The other has a PhD from Johns Hopkins, taught as an adjunct faculty member of seminaries and at a major university for many years, listens to NPR, and feels more at home in moderate Baptist circles. These men are quite different in education and outlook and yet I like them for many of the same reasons. They’re both profound, thoughtful men. Both are passionate but steady, even keeled. Both are readers, who like books that challenge their thinking. Both are pastors who gently shepherd their flocks. Both put a lot of time and thought into planning worship. Both love music. They both have what Edwin Friedman called a “non-anxious presence.” It is who they are, not what they do, that makes them each good pastors and good men.

So, what do you want to be?

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