Columbo–Model for Pastors?

I know, I know…Columbo is a detective, not a pastor. Still, I couldn’t help but think as I was watching one of my favorite shows (Columbo) that maybe I should try to be like Columbo when it comes to dealing with people in the church. Columbo is (1) very persistent. He doesn’t shy away from meeting with people he needs to see. This is one of my biggest weaknesses: the fear of imposing on people. Columbo has no such fear. He shows up at the door of people who wish that he would drop off the face of the earth. Not a bad quality for a pastor to have, eh? (2) Columbo is unassuming. He “plays dumb.” He doesn’t show his full hand but waits until the right moment. Another weakness of mine: I talk too much instead of asking probing questions. Silence makes me uncomfortable. Columbo does not do this–he knows exactly what he is doing, but doesn’t let on that he knows everything. (3) Columbo is always around. You never see Columbo sitting in his office blogging or playing on the internet. He’s out and about. He reminds me of Father Brown (G.K. Chesterton–“Father Brown Mysteries”). (4) Columbo is observant (again, like Fr. Brown). This is why he is able to solve the cases and get to the bottom of the mysteries. He sees things that others don’t, or that the criminals don’t think he will see and notice. Not that parishioners are criminals, but often the ones who want to avoid the pastor try to be deceptive. (5) Columbo doesn’t look impressive. His cleverness and intelligence are concealed in weakness. Somewhat incarnational, don’t you think? Another weakness of mine: I try to be too sensational. I rely too heavily on my personality and flare to woo people to the church. I think that if Columbo were a pastor, he’d do pretty well.


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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One Response to Columbo–Model for Pastors?

  1. The Rebellious Pastor's Wife says:

    I had a marriage and family therapy counselor who said she subscribed to the “Columbo School of Psychology.” It is very effective, and of course, can transfer over to many other social interactions.

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