Monday, November 19, 2007

Two Questions

I have been challenged by a fellow member of the Facebook group "Christian Bloggers Network" to blog on the following questions: What makes a great pastor/priest/minister? What makes a great church?

As a woman who is now formally in the process towards ordination, it occurs to me that I better know my answers to these two questions before I ever am called "Reverend" and hold the awesome responsibility of leading a parish. So here goes...

What makes a great pastor/priest/minister:

  • Love of God and love of people
  • Sense of humor
  • Daily personal prayer life/devotional time/spiritual centering
  • Commitment to serving God and the world
  • Ability to admit/share/display the fact that s/he is just as human, searching, doubting, and spiritual as each member of the congregation
  • Knowledge that s/he should be humble as an equal child of God to the parishioners, but also be able to claim the responsibility/power bestowed upon her/him at ordination
  • Good boundary setting
  • Listening skills--to people, and to the Spirit
  • Courage to try new things and step out of her/his--and the congregation's--comfort zone, and the wisdom to know when it's just not working/ not the right time/ people aren't ready
  • Enthusiasm
  • Dedication to constantly be expanding knowledge, skills, and experience

What makes a great church:

  • Love of God and each other
  • Compassion
  • Diversity of culture, socio-economic status, background, age, and point of view
  • Acceptance that diversity will sometimes cause difficulties, and knowledge that it's worth it anyway
  • Commitment to serving God, each other, and the world
  • Listening to each other
  • Enough money to keep the roof repaired, fund good programming, and give to others, but not so much that the church forgets Jesus' message
  • Welcoming of newcomers without forgetting to acknowledge those who've been there "forever"
  • Good cooks (wink, wink)
  • Lots of prayer
  • Enthusiasm
  • Ability to be led...and to lead
  • Dedication to constantly expanding knowledge, skills, and experiences

I encourage all of my readers who are in a church community to think about these questions yourselves. You may be surprised by your answers. Oh, and if you think I forgot something, please let me know!

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  1. I am the 'fellow member of the Facebook group' and wonderful work on the above post. I am getting ordained this coming sat and some time after this I intend to write a blog post at my place: that brings together all the suggestions from the various discussions on facebook and on my own blog. And I fully intend to quote you Beth! Nice work.

  2. Also I have had a very good laugh as the Google ad on your blog was:

    "Free instant ordination: Be a legally ordained clergy person." And when you follow the link, there is a button that you can click that says: 'Ordain me.'

    LOL ahh man, all the hard work, the years of wrestling... and all I needed to do was click a button.

    Is there a more compelling illustration of the shallowness of some parts of our culture! Lol. Love it.