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Grating Expectations


I looked at the results of the spiritual gift inventory and gulped. The areas I'd scored highest in, preaching and discernment, came as little surprise; I enjoyed speaking and counseling. But way down the list were shepherding and mercy, two gifts associated with effective pastoring.

I had suspected for some time what the test confirmed. I was a good communicator, but I struggled with people skills. I lived for Sunday mornings but found visitation difficult to get motivated for.

But here I was, a pastor in a small church. The expectations leaned much more toward strong people skills and contact, and much less toward preaching and leadership. Why had God led me to such a position? What should I do? Should I stay in a job that seemed, by definition, to require a different person? Or was there room in the local church for pastors who weren't first and foremost shepherds?

Over time I discovered there is room for pastors who don't always fit the image of personable parson. But reaching it requires ...

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