Jump directly to the Content

People Aren't Projects

...and other lessons I learned as a rural pastor.
People Aren't Projects

Early in my pastorate, a woman stopped by our church in rural Washington State looking for moving boxes. I was happy to help her out. We had just arrived in town, so we had plenty of boxes. “Thanks, Pastor,” she said. “You saved my life.”

Perfect. Life-saving was just the sort of work I had gone west to do, and the life-saving I imagined mostly involved making myself useful and fixing things. I was hooked.

Training and circumstances set me up for a fixit ministry. Somewhere in the thick of my studies at Harvard Divinity School, I chose the lofty goal of making my education useful to the larger church. I imagined myself helping people tidy up their theology: a little nip and tuck to their hermeneutical presuppositions. Read the Didache and call me in the morning. The tiny, urban congregation my wife and I joined during graduate school made plenty of space for an eager student to exercise his gifts, and when I started to sense the first inklings of a call, the congregation ...

April
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
FINDING THE FIT
FINDING THE FIT
How one church matches the right people to the right ministries.
From the Magazine
I Wanted a Bigger God Than My Hindu Guru Offered
I Wanted a Bigger God Than My Hindu Guru Offered
As my doubts about his teachings grew, so did a secret fascination with Jesus.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close