Being a gentle shepherd, meek and mild, may get you into trouble.

A number of years ago, a pulpit committee representative from a large southern church took me to lunch and asked if I would consider becoming their pastor.

"Tell me about the church," I said, and after touching on a number of points, he squared with me: "Steve, our church has a serious problem because it is controlled by one man. He gives a lot of money and has probably been there longer than anyone else. Because of who he is, he pretty much gets his way. The last three pastors have left because of him. But we believe we have a majority and we can take him."

"You're not looking for a pastor," I commented. "You're looking for a drill sergeant."

"Well," he replied, "I wouldn't put it that way, but yes, that's probably it, and you're the only one we know who is mean enough to clean up the mess."

I quickly told him I didn't feel led to become their pastor, but I did have a hit list of fellow clergy I'd be glad to submit for the committee's consideration.

As I thought about that incident later, ...

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From Issue:Spring 1987: Emotions
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