The experience of being in part-time ministry over the last few months has been an interesting one. It could be amply described by the phrase “out of my depth”. It is tempting to give the impression that I know what I am doing most of the time. But frankly, I don’t. The experience has been cushioned by the fact that there have been no major crises – just the odd ‘blip’ – but the feeling of things being not quite under control is not very pleasant.
So, off the top of my head, here are some issues I find create the sense of ‘floating’:
- Preaching. It was difficult to adjust to the metronome of weekly preaching. I have had weekly deadlines before in my previous profession. However these were usually of the work-in-progress kind. When one steps up to preach, it must be a finished article. The preacher is serving up the best spiritual meal he can.
- Personal spiritual life. As one who now has complete control of his day there is all the more reason to pursue the spiritual disciplines. However, it is just as difficult to be disciplined now as it ever was.
- Holiness. A pastor, like it or not, models the holy life for the flock. I am more aware now of my want/lack of this than ever.
- Handling people. The honeymoon is over. Impatience is rising. “Get a grip!” pops into the mind often. Keeping clear, open lines of communication is essential. Love the brothers and sisters.
- Leadership. “Who me?” I’m now the guy who didn’t step backwards. I want to see the people living lives of positive definite worship of God, publicly and privately. What does this mean for my task?
- Family. Taking care to spend enough time with my wife and daughter. They are beginning to expect me not to be around. Not good.
- Time-management. Related to 6. The adage goes, “There’s always time for the things you want to do.” Trouble is that I keep running out of time for the things I know I should do. Sluggardliness needs to be controlled.
- Future. When I finish studies, what do we do then? What are the implications for the family? Will they like them? Over the last few years we have learned to expect a much closer time-horizon beyond which we can’t see. It would be nice to know. But much more important to learn better that the LORD is my Shepherd.
But enough time-wasting! Back to work!