Every pastor has gotten the question. Sometimes it's direct: "So what exactly does a pastor do?" Other times it’s more subtle or indirect: "Would you be willing to … (fill in the blank: sign this petition, do our wedding, give me a reference, get paper towels for the ladies room, or …)?"
A couple weeks ago, I heard a beautifully succinct summation of pastoring. I was worshiping with a congregation made up mostly of twenty-somethings who had not been raised in church. As the service began, the pastor introduced himself and his calling.
"My name is Tom," he said. "I'm a pastor here. It's my job to pray for you, whether you're a Christian or not, and to talk with you about Jesus, whether you're a Christian or not. That's what I do."
It's just that simple, and it's just that complicated. Because talking about Jesus leads us into all aspects of life. And when we pray for people, the deeper, unresolved parts ...1