Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Congregational Ostrich Move

Early in my ministry it was relatively easy for me to ignore the troublesome things that were happening in the Synod. I made the refrain many do, "I am pastor here, not there, and what happens out there does not really affect my people here." Or, "I have been called by God to this place, not to the Synod." Those of you who are clergy in this denomination have heard it all before.

But such responses forget a few important items:

1. You are a member of Synod. Your congregation is a member of Synod. And while Synod is "advisory" and all that, we are still responsible to others. We do have "ecclesiastical supervisors."

2. We are a Synod, and there are other congregations that people will visit. They will have friends in other congregations. You may stick your head in the sand, but other people will not.

3. The Synod does not seem advisory to many laypeople. And the Synod has ways of reaching your congregation around you, through radio, the internet, mailings and so forth. The message from the pulpit and newsletters is not the only message they hear from the LCMS.

4. If you really care about your people, you should care that one day you will not be there and someone else will be, and may undermine all that you have taught. You may respond, "That is not my concern; it is in God's hands." It is in God's hands, but if you care about the people and believe you are right, you will care about what happens to them when you are gone.

Any additions to this list?


  1. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    5 - Pastors are supposed to teach their people so they can recognize things even when you aren't there. You are not the only pastor your congregation has ever had, and most likely there will be pastors after you. This means that you may not always be there to "defend" or shield your congregation. A pastor's job is to teach - and that also means making sure that they can identify the good and the bad.

  2. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Sorry, Pr. Brown. Your #5 is a response to my #4, not an additional reason for not sticking one's head in the sand. :)

    Please come again! (Said like Abu)

  3. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    #6 - Most people tend to think that if the Synod says something, it is right. . .

    Oh, yeah. . . um. . . hmmm. . . nevermind.