- To lead God’s people in the corner of the world to which we’ve been called with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love – to quote the PCUSA ordination vows.
- To discern what breaks God’s heart in our neighborhood and address it in the name of Jesus Christ.
- To reach out to broken people.
- To shift the congregation’s ministry from a 20th Century to a 21st Century culture for the sake of the Gospel.
Some pastors – perhaps unconciously – have an agenda which may or may not serve God’s people well:
- To hang on until I can retire with full benefits.
- To get my kids through college/my spouse to retirement/my house paid for.
- To stick around long enough to set myself up for a higher step on the ecclesiastical ladder.
- To wait out Mr. Crankitude on the governing board. He can’t live forever.
- To make this congregation more conservative/liberal/gay friendly/willing to leave the denomination.
- To make anti-gun violence/LGBTQ rights/inclusive language/environmental awareness/gun rights/anti-trafficking/any-number-of-justice-issues What We Are Known For in our community.
Pastors (and I’m talking to you too Mid-Council Leaders): what’s your agenda as you live out your calling? Is it a hidden agenda? Is it shared in whispers or is it shared out loud? How often do you track it?
I think about Jesus’ agenda often in these days and it wasn’t about climbing ladders or achieving personal security or seeking the spotlight. It was about serving. It was about connecting with unlikely people. It was about sacrifice.
Trying to keep this in mind as I land in Lebanon today with representatives from my denomination. We’ll be meeting with leaders whose agendas are indeed holy and noble in that they are serving is difficult and dangerous corners of God’s world.
Image of Edward Knippers‘ Christ the Servant.