Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pastors Talking Too Much

A few years ago, I was working on staff at a local church. A woman at the church had started a ministry to people living in section 8 apartment communities in our area. It became wildly successful and our denomination became interested in both her and the ministry. Through a long process, she decided to seek ordination as a pastor.

The time came when she had to attend her first event that was almost exclusively for pastors. Terrified, she came to me and confessed, "I have no idea what to talk to these people about? They are all more educated than me and have been doing this for a long time. How do I talk to these pastors?"

As unlikely as it seemed, I was able to pass along some wisdom to a new pastor. I told her, "This is the easiest thing you will ever have to do. All you do is walk up to another pastor - one that looks friendly and preferably male. Shake his hand, introduce yourself and ask "How are things going with your church?' It is the last thing you will have to say for forty-five minutes."

After the event, she came back very amused and excited and said, "You were so right. I did just what you said and this guy started in on their new building and hiring a new director of their children's ministry. Then another pastor joined the conversation and it turned into a competition of these guys trying to outdo each other in listing their accomplishments. It was hysterical! I didn't have to say a word all day." Then she hugged me.

Now I am not saying we are all like this, and there are some good reasons why some of us go on and on about ourselves. We need a place where we can talk about what we do with others who can understand and appreciate our work. My problem is that I too often seem to want to be appreciated more than I want to appreciate others. Conviction stinks.

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