Transforming Pastoral Ministry Puts Transformation Over Success

Rhythms of Life and Ministry: Transformation Over Success

For the past few months, I’ve focused on what I call Transforming Pastoral Ministry.

In this specific series of post, I am attempting to propose a new way for pastors and leaders to serve and minister to the church.

It’s a way that’s built around a host of Pillars tethered to a particular cluster of Rhythms!

Remember, these Pillars are the what of pastoral ministry.

By that, I mean that these five areas are the principal areas of concern for any ministry. They are:

  1. Calling: I define calling as signature convictions around who we are and why we are here. This applies to both the individual minister as well as the congregational identity.
  2. Congregational Care
  3. Congregational Leadership
  4. Preaching and Worship
  5. Soul-Care, Spiritual Formation and Discipleship

I can pretty much assure you that if you demonstrate some level of competency in three or more of these areas, you will likely have what most would consider a successful ministry.

Success, however, is not the target when I aim what it means to shepherd and lead a congregation.

As a minister, I don’t aim, shoot, or strive for success, per se.  Congregationally speaking, we seek a bit deeper at Pillar!

We aim for transformation.

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Transforming Pastoral Ministry: When Resistance Isn’t Rejection

One of my favorite holiday movies, that I often watch right smack in the middle of the Christmas season, is The Family Man.

I’m a big fan of the cast, which includes Nicholas Cage, Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Piven, and Saul Rubinek.

But more than the cast, it’s the storyline that gets me.

Every.

Single.

Time.

A Glimpse of What’s Possible

Here is the gist: single, billionaire playboy (Cage) falls asleep one lonely Christmas Eve night in his upscale NYC apartment.  The next morning (Christmas Day) he wakes up in the Jersey suburbs.  Happily married to Tea (who wouldn’t be) with two incredible kids.

There is only one problem; this isn’t his life.  It’s the life he said no to a decade earlier in pursuit of the American dream.

Now he is getting a “glimpse” of the life that slipped away!

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Transforming Pastoral Ministry: Congregational Care as Companionship

From time to time someone will ask me a question like the following:

“Pastor Biz, what do you spend your time doing during the week?”

To which I often answer (in my more serious moments) something like,

“I meet with church/community members, have appointments over meals, and work with our ministry teams and leaders.  The care I provide to our ministry teams differs from week-in and week out.  Currently, our Youth Ministry is receiving more time than usual.  But I may meet with our Missions, Children, Deacons, Elders, Worship, team, etc. depending on the day or the week!  I also spend time in study and preparation for my teaching/preaching responsibilities.  When I have time, I like to pray/think/reflect on the church’s overall health.  I also try to craft out time to pray and connect with parishioners who are homebound or in need of visitation.  And, finally, I enjoy meeting with other pastors and ministry leaders, when possible.”

That’s all to say that I spend most of my time and energy providing some form Congregational Care.

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Transforming Pastoral Ministry and Leadership, 5: Soul-Care IS the Mission!

This past Sunday I experienced a moment that reinforced the why, how, and what that supports and sustains Transforming Pastoral Ministry efforts.

The moment came through Tom Rhodes.  Tom is a personal friend and an active member of the Pillar family.

Tom has been a friend of mine for nearly twenty years.

Eight years ago, when we launched Pillar, I let Tom know what I was up to and invited him and his family to join us.

Tom and Sophie joined us shortly after we began worshipping as a congregation.

When they first showed up at  Pillar, they looked a little like that worn-out disciple to whom I referred in my last post.

I don’t remember my exact conversation with Tom and Sophie during the days they first chose to attend Pillar.

I probably told them the same thing I say to just about everyone who shows up at Pillar:

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