Devotional/Discussion thought of the Day;
Yesterday, I spent my day with brothers, who like me, serve a number of churches in our denomination. We’re called circuit counselors, and we have 8-12 churches and pastors we are elected by, to serve them, and to represent our district to them. A lot of the day was talking about our new manual, and what we are to do, what we are not to do, delineating responsibilities and the policies and guidelines which guide our work. One of the challenges is balancing out pastoral care to those we serve, and the responsibilities we have as “officials”. It is a challenge.
In a article I read this morning, a man that is rumored to be a potential archbishop of Indianapolis. Beyond having a very cool last name, (personal story there) the article talks about some politics in the Roman Catholic Church, but quotes the Archbishop on an issue, which seems to me to indicate a strong reason why he was chosen for the task.
““I am not here as a policeman, nor am I here as a tourist – I’m here about something much more serious: it’s about what we have bet our lives on. You and I have bet our lives on a person, on a message, on the dream of a kingdom.” (see http://www.indystar.com/article/20121017/NEWS/121017027/Reports-Pope-name-new-leader-Indianapolis-Archdiocese)
Now, while Joseph Tobin† and I may differ on a few points of theology that we both would contend are critical, in my opinion he gets the concept of Christian Leadership perfectly. It’s not about being a cop for the bureaucratic powers, a leader is not a polite tourist here to sample the culture – leadership is about the person of Christ, and about His reign and rule in our lives, and the responsibility that is inherent in His being our Lord, our Savior, and as I preached about a few weeks ago – our Brother who is not ashamed.
Does that mean there will be times where, in order to re-focus the ministry and work on Christ, there will be times of correction and even discipline? Yeah, there might be. But there will always be times of great joy as well – when all realize Christ’s presence, and the way it manifests itself in the life of people whom we serve. If we have bet our lives on the One who came into our lives to give us hope, then we have to work together, through it all, working together to keep the focus on Him.
I suppose that is what an Archibishop does, or for that matter, a Lutheran circuit counselor/pastor. Or nuns or elders or deaconesses, or deacons, or anyone who serves in the church. It all focuses on Him, and as we shepherd His people, it is to Jesus we must guide, cajole, encourage, and sometimes drag back to Him.
So He can love them, provide for them, heal them, protect them, be their Master and Lord. Ultimately, that is all a Christian Leader does…
Lord, have mercy on us, and on all who are tasked with leading God’s people home.