Tuesday Aug 25, 2020

What Is (Not) the Job of a Pastor?

Less obvious than you might think! The pastoral office functions like a magnet, attracting an infinity of valuable tasks without knowing how to shed them when it gets to be too much. In this episode we address the distinction between lay and ordained ministries, attempt to clear away some of the aforementioned well-intentioned clutter, and chart out a triage approach to the pastor's true calling. Hopefully helpful to burned-out and compassion-fatigued pastors, lay folks may also appreciate this reminder of what their pastors are actually for.


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1. Dobbs, “The Coming Pastoral Crash

2. Stephen Ministries

3. Forde, Theology Is for Proclamation

4. Heinrich Heine, not Voltaire, said: “of course God will forgive me; that’s His job

5. Jan-Olav Henriksen, Christianity as Distinct Practices: A Complicated Relationship

6. Check out what our gifted friend Pastor Natalie Hall is doing at St. Mary Magadalene Lutheran Episcopal Church as well as her excellent confirmation curriculum.

7. See Dad’s book of sermons, Preaching God's Word according to Luther's Doctrine in America Today, and his discussion of issues surrounding the pastoral ministry in Beloved Community pp. 355–382

8. You might be interested in my essay on “Sources of Authority according to the Lutheran Confessions” and a rather melancholic rumination on my first call in The Church Has Left the Building. My sermons for Tokyo Lutheran Church are on YouTube.

9. We didn’t get around to discussing these, but two of my favorite books for re-envisioning a faithful pastoral ministry in the midst of hugely different cultural settings are Vincent Donovan’s Christianity Rediscovered (lousy title: it should be more like Church Reimagined) and Michael White and Tom Corcoran’s Rebuilt, both by Catholic clergy.

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

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