At work




At work

Originally uploaded by jon.swanson

If I were most people, i would wonder what it is that a pastor does. In fact, I have that title on my door and I wonder most days. [My title is actually ‘administrative pastor’]

Yesterday what I did almost all day was talk. Every Tuesday our staff gathers for a couple hours to talk with each other and with God about what is working and what isn’t. Six of us met yesterday; we can have up to nine.

After staff meeting I was invited to lunch by our pastor for senior citizens, a guy who has been working in churches since before I was born. Then I had a couple hour conversation with a person trying to understand some things about her life. I’m not a trained counselor, so I talk about providing counsel or spiritual direction. We had only talked briefly before yesterday so it was a time of understanding what was happening and then suggesting some things to consider, to ask God about, to read about.

The next two conversations, by phone, were more consultive. One was preparing for a couple meetings in the evening, the other was talking with someone who teaches about how to handle a disruptive situation in the class. Both of the people I talked with are thoughtful, caring, discerning guys. One is an attorney, the other is the national sales director for a major publisher and both reflect a humility which is compelling.

I had another call from a guy who has his job on the line and is obviously quite anxious, a phone conversation with Nancy, and finally some time to check email and twitter.

At 5, several of us gathered for what we call worship planning. We have two different services on Sundays, one more classic, the other more modern. I always start the meeting by talking about where the services need to go thematically. Yesterday I also reminded us that there are a lot of people who have no understanding of the characters in the stories in the Bible, no exposure to the real ideas. As a result, somehow we have to figure out how to tell those stories for the first time again.

I left that meeting early to run home and get our daughter who is headed to Jamaica to help build a bathroom and play with kids in an orphanage next week. She had a meeting at the same time as my next two meetings. So we ate quickly and came back down to the church building.

From 6:30-9:15 I was part of three different meetings, two of them at the same time. In each of the three we were wrestling with significant issues of relationship and relevance and connection. Is there any significant connection between what believe to be true about God and anyone around us?

After my meetings, Hope was still in hers, so I headed home, walked with Nancy, and we drove back down here to pick up Hope at 11:30.

That was a longer day than most, and involved far more attention than most. But it was a wonderful day of helping people think. And the group meetings worked well, even when the issues were serious.

Oh, and we actually did spend chunks of time through the day, in most of the meetings, talking with God, as if He is part of the conversation. Because He is.

2 responses to “At work

  1. Re: your last paragraph: Do you do this more than you used to…or has this always been the way it is for you in ministry/life? If the former, what has brought about the change?

  2. I think more than before. And I wish I could answer the why/when. I think somewhere along the line I began to understand more that God wants a conversational relationship with us. I also had some conversations where I had NO idea what the next words out of my mouth needed to be…and so I asked. And He answered.