The Pool is a metaphor for one of the most challenging aspects of pastoral ministry for me.
You might choose the metaphor of a group hiking trip, a group skiing trip, a group rafting trip – anything that involves a group of people at a variety of stages of experience and knowledge where consequences are involved, and you have the picture.
I love the pool – I even like the pool.
Some of the people in the pool are great swimmers, been doing it their whole lives.
Some of the people in the pool can’t swim yet but they enter the pool hoping to become swimmers.
Some people have been in the pool a long, long time, but they have never moved out of the shallow end.
Some people are decent swimmers and they move back and forth between the deep end and the shallow end, coaxing people to go deeper.
Some people are out in the deep end and they have neither time nor respect for the people in the shallows.
Some people are in the deep end and they inspire others to want to jump in and those that have already jumped in to move out a little deeper.
Some people have been so traumatized by a previous experience in the pool they’re just doing well to show up and stick their feet in.
Some people…well…you get the idea.
The challenge, for me, has been creating a pool experience that everyone gets the most out of and wherein everyone has the chance to become the best swimmer they can be, all while being totally immersed in the pool.
While some feel the water is too cold.
And some are bored and want a water slide like the pool their cousin attends.
While some feel the water is too hot.
And some are frustrated by how crowded it is in the pool.
While some seem to check out for weeks at a time.
And some are upset that the pool will close down if we don’t find more people to get in.
While some are so into the pool that they don’t know anyone still on dry land.
And some would prefer a segregated pool.
For some, messages are too basic. For some, too deep.
For some, we need more Bible. For some, we need more Spirit.
For some, we need more sizzle. For some, we need more quiet contemplation.
And for some…well…you get the idea.
Tuesdays are going to be Pastoral Ministry Tuesdays here at A Pastor’s Story. I’m going to share some of the day to day challenges of pastoral ministry – life at the Pool – and some honest reflections on this life that I feel I chose but I also feel chose me. One of my greatest challenges is being one of the leaders of a community that wants to follow Jesus that is made up of people coming from all kinds of different backgrounds and life experiences, expectations and hurts, perspectives and education. Attached to this challenge is another – a challenge to not give in to our consumer culture and turn to marketing, branding and franchising based on homogeneity, but to honor God’s beautiful mosaic rather than the cultural blender. Growing a diverse but harmonious family of Jesus followers is an altogether different proposition than developing a client base around brand recognition that increases our market share.
Tuesdays I’ll share with you the joys, the trials, the temptations and the amazing dreams that come true in a pastor’s story.