Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ministry Stuff

I realized today one of the most crucial jobs of a pastor--visiting the sick and the dying. Now this is pretty obvious; after all, sometimes the only time people seek ministers is when tragedy happens, such as a death. Actually, the beginning of life and the end of life are moments that ministers are privileged to have a special place in--kinda like a front-row seat. People want ministers around during these moments.

Our interim pastor, Merle, whom I've talked about before and admire a lot, has taught me a lot about being a pastor in the short time he's been at our church. He makes tons of home visits to members who haven't been to church in a while--just to check in, see how things are going. We've gotten kinda lazy about that these days in the church. We forget how churches used to be born--through home visits and door-to-door "witnessing" (I'm not a huge fan of that word, but couldn't think of another one). Plus, it means a lot when someone comes to visit you. It shows that someone cares enough to see you in your environment, on your terms. You don't have to make the effort to come to church, that's fine--we'll come to you and just sit and chat for a while. I think that's a good model of what God is like. And I hope I make many home visits when I'm a pastor.

Our congregation is fairly young in population. We have tons of young families and little kiddos, but not a whole lot of elderly people. In the 25+ years the church has been in existence, we've only had 30-something deaths, which is pretty low. And right now, we have a member who is in severe pain and close to death. Merle visits the hospital every day and it sticks out to me because I haven't had a lot of that part of the ministry to witness. But it's so important. There are even spots reserved for clergy in hospital parking garages. Merle told me today that he thinks visits--be they home or hospital--are one of the most important jobs of a pastor. I think he's right. Who cares if you preached an awesome sermon on Sunday--are you caring for the members of your church? Are you right there with them when crap is happening in their lives? Are you showing them God's unfailing love as best you can by being where they are rather than expecting them to come to you? It will be weird to someday be the one who gets called to be with a dying person, but what an honor.

On a more humorous note, Court and I laughed tonight at the thought of me in a preacher's collar. She was like, "I'm just gonna laugh at you, I'm sorry." and I was like, "I'll probably laugh, too." It is kinda funny. Some women pastors I know look really cute in their collars. Some look dorky. Hmmm. I have several years, though--maybe they'll come up with some more fashionable ways to dress as a minister by then. :)

You're Beautiful by James Blunt--great song. *sigh* His last name makes me laugh, especially since in one line he says he was high. ha ha

Time for bed! 'Night friends.


Blogger Leah said...


11:20 AM  
Blogger trishy said...

I might laugh at you in a color a bit as well. You and Richie will have to take a funny picture together. As for style, we'll work on that little dilemna!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Rob West said...

Maybe by the time you're through you'll be allowe dot wear Hot Pink, no?

11:33 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Lee-lee--I don't know a ridiculously handsome guy at the Thundercloud here. Guess you'll have to come here more often, huh? Love the all-caps feature, sis. You are just too dang cool. ;)

Trishy--I know! We're all gonna laugh at me. I wish we could "step up" the style of preachers a bit. . .maybe we'd get more people in church? hee hee

Robby Rob--I wouldn't wear hot pink even if I could. But the visual is funny. My pastor in college used to make her own clerical shirts--they were cute, but not what I would want. Polka dots would be fun, though. :)

12:23 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

That is one thing that I liked about my Sugar Daddy, Merle. When I first moved to Georgetown he was the first to ask when he could come over and see my new place. It was sweet.

And YES, I too will snicker when I see you in a collar. Only because it means you will really be a grown up. That's all I could do this weekend with Jenny and her baby and Becca with her pregnant belly, I just laughed because we're all growing up. Weird.

See you tomorrow!

1:56 PM  

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