There was a time when I lost my pastor swagger.

Yes, believe it or not, pastors have swagger, and/or mojo. Though we usually spiritualize it and call it "anointing", and/or "gifting". In essence, it is that confidence that a pastor has in his or her skills and abilities, which allows them to minister more effectively, and inspire others to greater faith. Never was my swagger more evident and more utilized than when I planted my own church almost exactly five years ago.

It was also there that I would discover that pastor swagger is an ephemeral thing. Mine started to fall apart only two months after we planted the church, the afternoon that my wife was diagnosed with cancer. Any vestiges that remained evaporated over the next year, as I struggled to care for my wife and kids, as well as our foundering congregation. And when I was forced to close the church because of our meager attendance and dwindling financial resources, my pastor swagger had morphed into a full-blown case of pastoral depression.

Searching for a new position while in such a funk only made things worse. I would read the job descriptions provided by churches, and the lengthy list of expectations that candidates were supposed to meet...and despaired:

"The pastor will be expected to help the congregation achieve the next level of growth and maturity, both spiritually and numerically." Hm, not sure how to do that. But I do know how to CLOSE a church, maybe that counts.

"The pastor will be expected to develop the organizational capacity of the church to better achieve its vision and mission." I couldn't even maintain a church of 40 people - how in the world would I be able to grow a church, much less manage a ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Third Culture
Third Culture looks at matters of faith from the multicultural and minority perspective.
Peter Chin
Peter W. Chin is the pastor of Rainier Avenue Church and author of Blindsided By God. His advocacy work for racial reconciliation has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, and the Washington Post.
Previous Third Culture Columns: