Where Pastors belong…and where they don’t

I always get a bit uncomfortable at voters meetings. I feel like I really don’t belong. It is not my place. My place is in the pulpit, at the altar, at the font. My place is at the bedside of the sick or visiting widows. My place is where the word of God is involved and believe me, the Word of God is not involved at voters meetings. It is all business. It is where my salary is discussed, where decisions are made about carpeting and budgets.

I go to the meetings not because I feel that it is a necessity, but as a courtesy. I learned a long time ago that a voters meeting is no place to discuss matters theological or spiritual. And so, for the most part, I show up, offer prayers, and keep my mouth shut. As much as possible. I give my reports, let the people know if I will be absent or on vacation, or some such thing, but that is about as far as it goes.

This is not out of spite or anything like that. It is just a recognition that this is their show. I have my soap box–it’s in the Church. If there are theological or spiritual issues to discuss I bring them up with my elders, or I discuss them in Bible Class. But I really feel out of place at voters meetings. I do not have the mind of a businessman. I offer my opinion if I am asked. But it is not my place of expertise.

I did not go to the seminary to learn how Church budgets work, or to learn how to be an administrator. I went to the seminary to study theology, to prepare for the Ministry of the Word. I am a preacher. I am a herald of  God’s Word. Don’t expect me to be a great administrator. I’m not. It’s not my ‘spiritual gift.’ If that means that I will only serve small parishes for the rest of my life, so be it. 

People don’t realize how much of a ‘multi-tasker’ pastors in small parishes have to be. We don’t have secretaries or youth leaders or music directors or choir directors. If you call my church I’ll be the one answering the phone. If you send mail to the church, I’ll be the one getting it. There is this insidious attitude in our synod today that a pastor must be more than a preacher, more than a teacher of the Word, if he is to be able to ‘handle’ larger parishes. If that is what people want to think, that is fine by me. It’s wrong, but I am fine with it. Seriously. 

Now let me tell you what I really think… 🙂

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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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5 Responses to Where Pastors belong…and where they don’t

  1. Bad Ice says:

    You know what this multi-tasker hates? The yearly annual reports forms. Those with secretaries can hand it to them and say, “fill this out please and return it”. I bet you a beer the next time I see you that you haven’t filled yours out yet.

    Pete

  2. Dave Schultz says:

    Amen.

  3. You’re never going to get nominated by your DP for PLI with that kind of an attitude Pr. Beisel. Good for you.

  4. Yes, my congregation’s meetings are usually embarrasing. You really get to see how little the members know about the Word of God, and don’t want to know.

    Example: When a man who was a voter since before I was born, who was congregation president multiple times, says didn’t know that we received the forgiveness of sins in the Lord’s Supper.

    Example: When the treasurer wants to have a vote to get rid of weekly Communion because he doesn’t feel like he needs it that often and wants to go play golf.

  5. Yes, my congregation’s meetings are usually embarrasing. You really get to see how little the members know about the Word of God, and don’t want to know.

    Example: When a man who was a voter since before I was born, who was congregation president multiple times, says didn’t know that we received the forgiveness of sins in the Lord’s Supper.

    Example: When the treasurer wants to have a vote to get rid of weekly Communion because he doesn’t feel like he needs it that often and wants to go play golf.

    Yep.

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