A Friendly Wager and the Role of Pastor
It started as a friendly wager with my wife. “You’ve wanted to get in shape,” she said about 9 months ago. “Now that we’re expecting (our first biological child), you should really think about following through. I bet you can’t lose as much weight as I gain during pregnancy?” Being a sucker and liking a good challenge, I took her up on the bet, but did nothing. I did not air up the tires on my bike. I did not start walking to work. I did nothing: thinking I’d have plenty of time to lose 8 lbs (what I suspected the average size of a newborn to be). Then I found out that the average woman gains 25-35 lbs during her pregnancy. “Crap, crap, crap,” I thought. “It is time to get busy.”
I’ve never been real good at “getting in shape.” It takes a great deal of intentionality on my part (there are a 1000 other things I could do to keep myself busy: like eating chips and salsa all day on the couch while watching Star Trek). So, after several months of prodding/jesting from Chandra, I researched area gyms and trainers.
I knew I needed someone (other than my wife or another family member) to listen to my goals, help me devise a plan to meet my goals, and motivate me to realize my goals. I found a gym and a trainer. Thanks to the trainer’s ability to listen, teach, and motivate me, I am stronger than I have been in years. And, to date, I’ve lost about 10 lbs.
As I think about my role as a pastor in The United Methodist Church, I find many parallels between the role of my trainer and my understanding of the pastorate. I’m convinced, congregations need someone “from the outside” to listen, teach, and motivate. Congregations need
- a pastor-trainer who is called to listen: to understand the congregation’s present situation and desired outcomes (mission).
- a pastor-trainer who is called to teach: to help the congregation devise and implement a plan (vision) for achieving the desired outcome (mission).
- a pastor-trainer who is called to motivate (i.e. cheer lead): to remind the congregation of the desired outcome (mission & vision) when the “going gets tough” and to celebrate successes (no matter how insignificant they may seem) as the desired outcome (mission) is realized.
At this moment, as I seek to better understand my calling to ordained ministry as an elder in The United Methodist Church, I find this model of pastor-trainer to be helpful (at least right now). And, as I seek to be in-formed, I’d appreciate your thoughts.
Is the pastor-trainer understanding helpful in defining the role of the pastor? What other similarities do you see between a pastor and a trainer?
 “Pregnancy And Weight Gain,” WebMD.com <http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/healthy-weight-gain> Accessed June 10, 2012.