The Nuance-Savvy Pastor

Remember that scene in Philadelphia when the Denzel Washington character said to the Tom Hanks character, “Will you explain this to me like I’m a six-year-old, Mr. Wheeler, because I just don’t get it.”  ?

I need someone to teach me things like I’m six years old sometimes.  As the first anniversary of my current ministry rolls around, I realize how much I haven’t understood, known, or picked up on things over the course of 12 months.  I may not automatically intuit every sacred assumption, relationship triangle, or rivalry.  Please feel free to explain things to me like I’m six.

Excellent pastors are savvy when it comes to nuance.  At any age, in any season of professional ministry a nuance-savvy pastor is healthier than the clueless pastor.  Perhaps this is obvious or perhaps it’s not.

As some of the posts this week have been about relationships between former pastors and churches, let’s talk “nuance.”

The Clueless-ish Pastor

Former Parishioner:  Would you come back and baptize my baby next spring?

Former Pastor:  I can only baptize your baby if you ask the new pastor.

The Nuance-Savvy Pastor

Former Parishioner:  Would you come back and baptize my baby next spring?

Former Pastor:  No.  I really can’t.

Note the difference?  The Clueless-ish Pastor doesn’t realize it, perhaps, but he’s put the new pastor in a difficult situation.  If New Pastor says, “No” re: inviting Former Pastor back, NP is a jerk.  If New Pastor says, “Yes” it’s often because NP has no choice.

Our goal is to have healthy churches with healthy relationships, so that the way is cleared to Do Ministry.  The needs of the community are so great and we don’t have time to spend our days dealing with personnel drama and explaining things to the clueless by dancing around issues, afraid we will hurt someone’s feelings.  We need to be able to talk to each other plainly and authentically (like we are six years old) and realize that ministry is not about us.  It’s about expanding the reign of God here and now.

PS  Thank you J.

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3 responses to “The Nuance-Savvy Pastor

  1. Once again, you nailed it.

    Like a boss.

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