Skip to main content

"I would love to be your pastor."

I got to hear someone's story yesterday. It was an honor. I was in awe of the twists and turns in her life and all the things that brought her to this moment sitting in my office. Her language for her spiritual journey left me with goose bumps for pretty much the whole hour. She wrapped up her story with a big breath and I could see the deep plea in her eyes for grace. Could this church be a place she would be welcome to figure out who she was in Christ if all the old ways weren't working anymore?

It was silent for just a moment.

Then I said,

"I would love to be your pastor."

A deep sigh, a couple tears and a big smile.

Friends, many of us are part of faith communities we might call progressive or open. Regardless of how we describe it, one of our values is that people can question, doubt and struggle and we don't kick them out. In fact, we welcome the questions because that's how a relationship with God works. That's how we grow!

God can handle our questions. God wants our questions. They are not a threat to faith.

A black and white framework can't handle uncertainty, wonder and struggle. It pushes them away, terrified of what might be underneath. We claim God is underneath and inside all of it. Asking the hardest, deepest, scariest question is how we get closer to God.

I asked God to give us language for how to help people in our community understand this. And God keeps sending us people who come from a faith experience with a lot of baggage and they can't believe a place like this exists.

Thank you, God.


Janet Myer said…
I'm relieved that I'm not the only one with questions, struggles and doubts. Thank you for reminding me that that God can handle it. Such perfect love!
David Reynaud said…
Jenny, Thank you for creating an environment of open dialogue.

Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…