Sunday, April 08, 2007

Student Pastorate Advice

Thank you all, dear readers, for your words of encouragement last week when I was informed that I would be appointed to a church. Ya'll gave me lots of very good advice. I particularly liked Mark Winter's:

THOU SHALT NOT alter the order of worship in any way right off the bat.

THOU SHALT NOT preach grace to the exclusion of obedience, or vice versa.

THOU SHALT NOT get lazy in spiritual disciplines but continue to grow through study, Bible meditation, prayer and fasting, so that thy congregation might see the glory of the Lord on thy face and want some of it for themselves.

THOU SHALT be with the people, but thou shalt also have boundaries with thy flock, lest they interrupt thy dinner continually and call thee on vacation.

THOU SHALT lead and not just maintain the status quo, for the sheep always need to move toward greener pastures.

THOU SHALT help the congregation understand that thy wife may not be able to play the piano, teach Sunday school, quilt and smile 24/7.

THOU SHALT develop strong tastebuds and sample everything from the churchwide potlucks, lest thou offend Susie Pearl and Emma Mae.

THOU SHALT diligently study the Book of Discipline, but do not preach from the Book of Discipline or thy congregation shalt fall asleep.

THOU SHALT be remembered fondly among the young ones if thou bringest thy bunny occasionally to the children's sermon.

THOU SHALT offer them Christ and not just "church membership."

Written always with Mark's unique brand of humor. And since this is an occasional humor blog:

What is the worst advice that you have to give me about my first few days and weeks in my student appointment?


jim said...

stay in bed. you only work 1 day a week anyway.

MethoDeist said...

Telling everyone on your first day that there is a God and you are him.


John B said...

Preach on the congregation's poor stewardship habits and how underpaid you are.

Mark Winter said...

My first commandment came out of bitter experience. I actually took a predecessor's earnest advice to change the order of worship soon after I took my first fulltime appointment. I have wondered to this day what that pastor had against me. I do know this: there's no good side in an effigy profile.

David said...

Be sure to set up a cot there at the church, ensuring that the congregation will see the lights on and you present "with them" at all hours of the day and night. Ask each person what they want "their" ringtone to be on your phone so that you can more quickly pick up and respond to their needs. And be sure to visit everyone in the congregation your first week on the job, in their home, at work, and at the grocery store for every member.

Tim said...

I think Bishop Bevel Jones told me this story (or I read it in a book): I can't find it anywhere online. I suspect it is legendary but here goes:

It seems a pastor was appointed in South Georgia to a church. The first week he ws there, he noticed a tree was blocking one of the entrances to the church. He thought something like: "I can't believe they haven't done anything about this tree. You can't even get into the church through door because of it."

So being a problem solver, he took out his chainsaw and cut it down, cleared the brush away from the door, and retired for the evening, please at the work he was able to provide the church.

Very soon he was greeted by an urgent and upset message that somebody had chopped down that tree John Wesley had planted...

Tim Sisk

CBrulee said...

Sample everything at the church potluck suppers, especially the mayo-laced dishes that have been sitting out during Sunday School and Worship. A brief hospital stay means nothing in the larger scheme of things. [I seem to recall you saying you didn't like pot luck. Hmmm. What to do; what to do.]

truevyne said...

Make sure you talk about yourself. Alot.

rocksalive777 said...

Two very simple concepts: Put-put golf. Church cemetery.

You do the math.

Anonymous said...

Insisting that partaking of the "sacrament" straight from a brown paper bag is a perfectly acceptable practice.

Respectfully and humorously,

John said...

Two very simple concepts: Put-put golf. Church cemetery.

You do the math.

And on rainy days, in the sanctuary.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lorna said...

go back home

oops that might be good advice afterall