Heart of the matter

Shepherding souls
At ordination Presbyterian ministers promise to give their “energy, intelligence, imagination and love” to ministry. Sometimes just managing the institution of the church exhausts such capacities. Sometimes attending to the committees, task forces, program evaluations, staff supervision and budgets is all-consuming. (And sometimes it is secretly satisfying because it reassures us that ministry is “real work,” like running a business.) I know that management is important, and needs to be done well. Administration is a form of ministry. But I don’t like it when being a pastor, a shepherd of souls, gets put on the margins—at least until a reminder comes in the form of a telephone call from someone who wants to “to talk about my faith” or even “to talk about God.” Then we recall why we’re here.


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