From the Editor

Pastors are People too

When I was a seminary student, I spent a lot of time in the school library — in part because I had a job working there. I recall, one fine day, perusing a shelf of outdated-but-still-not-discarded volumes. A title jumped out at me: “Spiritual Growth for Pastors and People.”

At that moment, I wondered what I was getting into, opening myself to call in a Lutheran congregation. If there really were two categories, pastors and people, how would the two ever really meet? How could they?

Clearly that book title was the creation of a churchman from an era now (thankfully) gone. In the “olden days,” clergy were considered to be somehow above “people.” It’s taken us a long time to reach the point where clergy and lay folk can regard one another on more-or-less level ground. Most of the pedestals are gone.

The distance remains, however, between shepherd and flock. That’s not all bad. Respect for those who lead is a good thing. But the downside is that pastors can be categorized by church members in such a way that they’re considered “other” than everyone else.

Many a pastor has revealed to his or her bishop or district president that “it’s lonely out there” in the parish. Members aren’t sure how to relate to their pastors. They don’t want to get too cozy with them. But that means the pastor may end up with few friends, or may have to go looking for them outside the congregation.

This month, as Metro Lutheran focuses on seminaries and the training of our next pastors (see pages 5-9), we would do well to think of ways to show our pastoral leaders how well we think of them. If you haven’t done any of the following lately (or ever), consider doing one or more of these, beginning this month.

* Take your pastor to lunch. Pick up the tab. While you’re breaking bread together, tell him or her what you most appreciate about his or her ministry in your midst.

* Assuming you can do this without getting yourself into trouble, invite the pastor to your workplace for coffee. While there, give him or her a quick tour of your workspace and let him or her know what it’s like being a disciple there.

* Find out when the pastor’s birthday, anniversary date and ordination anniversary days are. Remember to mark them.

* Keep your pastor in your prayers.

Remember, pastors are people too.