Local Pastor? Puhhlease!

Let me share with you part of my Annual Conference experience. Everything was business as usual this year. There was nothing too much out of the ordinary that took place. Supposedly, I did come out in a picture in the conference paper. That's a miracle they got me sitting in my seat.

Probably the biggest talk was over the issue of clergy effectiveness. There is a new form that was voted on for SPRC and pastors to use. It's a long form; I don't have too much of a problem with it. Someone had a question about some of the details about the form. Now, a lot of people didn't appreciate the question; they thought it was silly, I suppose.

What I thought about it doesn't really matter at this point. There were murmurs and sighs and things like that. Our seating arrangement allowed for us to be in the second row. The two people immediately in front of us didn't care for the comment as well. Their response, however, is what troubled me. The gentleman, who was a lay delegate, made the comment (no paraphrasing here), "He must be a local pastor." The woman, who was a clergy delegate, agreed and took the time to investigate his appointment. When they found out he was an ordained elder they were surprised.

I cannot express to you just how much that bothered me. It didn't feel like the appropriate time then to have a holy conversation with them. Perhaps I should have; I wanted to hear what other comments about the issue were made and also I felt a little too offended to engage in conversation with them while other things were going on around us.

Please understand my point. I'm not offended because I'm a local pastor. This wasn't about me. It was about all the local pastors I know that love God and minister effectively where He has led them. It was about the work I have seen done in the life of a church and its people through so many local pastors. More than that, it was, and still is, about the work God has done through us all! I haven't drafted my letter to both individuals. Oh yes, I'll have to. Otherwise I run the risk of holding on to that comment and holding it against them when I see them next.

With that kind of attitude how do we expect our church to grow in its work? Some people need to get over themselves (I say that lovingly). God has called each of us to His service; that calling takes us different places through different avenues. What right do I have to believe my calling to be higher than another's?

I'll leave it at that and just ask for your prayers as I discern what words are appropriate to share with them. Stay blessed...john

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