It’s Time To Get Out Of The Office

An effective pastor will get out of the office from time to time.

I’ve been in churches where they were telling me to be in the office more “just in case someone comes to the church looking for the pastor”. I’ve been also been told to get out of the office more and go visit people. “Just show up at their door” was one elders advice.

I’m not talking about either of those things. Yes we need to spend adequate time in the office to prepare sermons and meet with people and plan meetings and pray through the future of the church. Yes we need to connect with our people through home visits or a coffee at the local cafe, but what I’m talking about is getting into the community.

In the first church I was a pastor in I was made so busy in the church that I had no opportunity to ever connect with people in the community. Ever since I have had this conviction that I need to find natural ways to connect with people in the community. If we are going to be people who are introducing people to Jesus, then we need to connect with people who don’t yet know Jesus. If I want my church to do that, then I as pastor need to be doing that.

I have tried to find ways to get to know people and contribute to the good of the community at the same time. In other places I joined a bowling league and ran with a bunch of guys. Here in Carseland I joined the local Carseland and District Community Association and Agricultural Society. I’m actually President right now.  I have also joined the local Lions Club. These are giving me opportunity to connect with people I would never meet any other way. And the neat thing is that a few of the men from the Lions have joined us at church from time to time!

As pastors and church leaders we are always looking for people to serve in the church. We want people to volunteer their time in the church after having put in a full days work. They have spent most of their day rubbing shoulders with non-church people. Then we encourage them to serve in the church for a few others a week.

Pastors spend much of their day in the church. I think it only makes sense that we reverse what we ask of our people. We should spend a couple hours a week getting involved in serving in the community and connecting with non-church people.

The benefit will be that the people in your community will begin to see you as a “real” person. You will get to know non-church people whom you can hopefully introduce to Jesus. And in the meantime you will be helping make a positive impact on the community.

We need to remember to get out of the office – not just to visit church members, but to find ways of connecting with people who still need Jesus!

Entertaining Strangers

The storm of the last few days may very well become known as “the Storm of 2011”.

A winter storm blew in and stranded many people on the road and in the ditch. Strathmore, just 15 minutes north of us even declared a State of Emergency for about 36-48 hours as they tried to cope with all the stranded people. A family ended up at the local Fire Hall looking for shelter. The white-out conditions made going any further impossible.

At 12: 35 at night we were called to see if we could assist them. When I met the family at the Fire Hall, the Firemen were out on another rescue call. The family consisted of one husband and wife and two children, the husband’s brother, and the grandma. I couldn’t just take them to the church and leave them there. They ended up on the floor at our house. This was late Saturday night.

The storm continued to blow through Saturday night, all day Sunday, and into the second night. The husband was trying to dig his Suburban out the Sunday morning, to make it possible to get home, but there were still road warnings in effect. The storm was so bad, we didn’t even have church, in fact, I as the pastor didn’t even make it to the church.

How do you entertain a family whom you don’t know? They were even from a different culture, Muslims of East Indian background who had grown up in Tanzania, Africa. My wife did an awesome job of providing food for them, but was told the wife wouldn’t eat beef because she was from India. As Lynnette was cooking some pizzas she was also informed they wouldn’t eat it because it had pork – ham- on it. So she came up with something else!! She even prepared a separate vegetarian sauce alongside the beef sauce she had prepared.

My poor teenage daughters had a tough time. The son was about their age but not interested in doing anything beside playing his gameboy or whatever his handheld toy was.

They even spoke in their own language most of the time, keeping us out of the conversation.

But what do you do? You help them out just they way that you would want to be. Would this be expected of a city pastor? Probably not.

Yet it gave us an opportunity to meet someone from another culture. I even had opportunity to talk with them a little about their Muslim religion.

Interesting experience in the “Storm of 2011”!