A Lutheran, Baptist, and Pentecostal pastor walk into a bar…
You were expecting a punchline? No, I’m serious. Well, sort of (only the Lutheran pastor would actually admit to walking into a bar). Roll with the analogy here.
Just weeks before the launch of CityCom, my co-pastor Nathan LaGrange and I were summoned to the offices of some “out of our normal ministry circle” friends. Guys we’d known for awhile, but who wanted to up the ante. Here was their challenge:
“To this point, you’ve been playing the equivalent of ministry ‘high school basketball.’ Today you’re making a leap to the pros. In high school, you can get away with only knowing how to dribble with your right hand. But the pros will destroy you. We want to help you learn to dribble with your left hand, too.”
They didn’t know I was a natural lefty, but I went with it anyway. And the awkward journey towards ambidexterity began.
They’ve counseled us. Digging skillfully and lovingly into the broken places.
They’ve prayed with us. For our personal lives, our church, and together for our city.
They’ve connected us. With other pastors and leaders, from every denomination and spiritual pedigree, who don’t just pastor their church, but together pastor The Church here in Indianapolis.
We share our lives. Our fears. Our questions. Our weaknesses. And through it we become stronger.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” –2 Cor. 12:9
Vulnerability doesn’t scare me (Well, I guess that’s a lie. Some days it does feel like an M. Night Shyamalan movie). It’s the realization I thought I could handle the pressures of pastoring without it that’s truly terrifying. It should scare you, too.
The average pastor lasts about four years. One Presidential term. And many that persevere grow cynical, bitter, and resentful of their position (or their wives and families do). Could this have a little something to do with it?
None of us can withstand the pressure of appearing to have it all together. We’re all broken. Fearful. In need of the love, grace, and forgiveness of the Father. We need each other. Strength doesn’t come from pretending we’ve arrived, but in admitting we’re still on the journey. (Even if the word “pastor” is in your title).
And the same goes for you. Do you have these types of honest relationships in your life? Who are you vulnerable with? Are you learning to dribble with both hands?