Playing the Part

How doing ministry shaped my soul and made me better than I am.

Being a pastor has made me better than I am. This is because the pastoral vocation requires that I act in ways that seem beyond me. Recently I came across a sermon, "The Pleasures Peculiar to the Ministerial Life," preached in 1728 by the Rev. Amos Adams at the ordination of Jonathan Moore at First Church in Rochester, Massachusetts. He examines the ways that being a pastor enhances one's spiritual life. While granting that it's not a shortcut to sainthood ("I don't mean that ministers are necessarily eminently good men," he writes), he concludes, "The ministry is, in short, a school of virtue."Update the language a bit and Rev. Adams could have been writing about me.

Prayer on demand

I began to learn how to pray when I was in seminary—not in a class, of course, but in a small prayer group of fellow students that met weekly. It was only when I became a pastor and had to pray for the congregation, that my experience of prayer deepened. After all, the only way to learn how to pray is ...

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