Jump directly to the Content


How much do you change to fit a peculiar people?

The Reverend Doctor R. Thomas Martin knew he was out of place as soon as he arrived as pastor of California's Corona Del Sol Community Church.

The large cross crafted from the shattered surfboards of hapless former pastors gave him his first clue. The liturgical break-dance group practicing in the sanctuary confirmed his dark suspicion. The pastor nominating committee had not told him the whole truth.

Corona Del Sol and R. Thomas Martin are mythical, but pastors out of their element are very real. The life of a square peg in a round hole can be painful-for the peg as well as the hole. I've been in that situation to a degree, and over the years I've talked with other pastors who find their distinctive corners jammed against the church's contours.

The Square-peg Experience

"Square pegness" can take a variety of forms. One of the most common is a difference in life experience.

Susan Baker, a Presbyterian pastor, grew up in a large church in suburban California. She attended college in California ...

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

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Insights into Innovation
Insights into Innovation
Five leadership lessons from the last five years.
From the Magazine
How Scripture Keeps Surprising Me
How Scripture Keeps Surprising Me
As a child, I hid God’s Word in my heart. Now it sneaks out when I least expect it.
Editor's Pick
Ten Percent Won’t Work for Everyone
Ten Percent Won’t Work for Everyone
The New Testament suggests that different Christians should give different portions of their income to the Lord.