Publication date: May 20, 2013
In this third volume of Clergy Tales—Tails, I have deliberately chosen stories that exemplify the types of emotional challenges that pastors encounter. Even at its most boring, there is something special about the ministry and frequently it is a full-time, hair-raising adventure that is anything but boring.
To be called by God to the pastoral ministry is to hear a voice from beyond time and space. You are called to speak an often counter-intuitive word to a world locked into their immediate moment.
High octane experiences, both negative and positive, frequently tumble on top of each other in the ministry. They are interspersed with many mundane, even tedious demands of the profession that take their toll in a different form. There is a particular danger of moving from an adrenaline-pumping event in one moment to a mind-numbing meeting that solves nothing the next moment. Mix that with listening to how someone has taken offense at something you did or the heart-breaking experience of watching a friend’s marriage disintegrate, or the pain of strangers who have come to you in desperate need for help and you have a sense of the daily encounters in the ministry.
It is an awesome calling and it is a story that deserves to be told. That is the clergy tale. It is also a story in which the clergy are very vulnerable to pressures, both internal and external, that can both tempt and bruise. That is the clergy tail. However, despite the very human nature of both church and clergy, there is the possibility of the awesome that happens when God wags the tale.