I need some pastoral advice

OK, so, I’m in the process of preparing to head to seminary.  Clearly there are huge ways in which I need to grow, not only in terms of theological thinking and of rediscovering how to write in a clear, coherent manner (I guess I’m just out of practice), but possibly even more importantly, I need to grow in terms of my capacity to provide pastoral care.

If you read my posting of a few days ago (the one about discipleship), you’ll know that I underwent some personal struggles in my young life.  I’ve read – and fully believe – that such episodes can teach us to conceal and protect our own broken-ness by projecting a seemingly detached, aloof, indifferent public image.  I know that my “inner space” is anything but detached, but I can easily see how other people might have trouble seeing beyond the somewhat frosty exterior.

So, my question to pastors – especially pastors who face similar issues – is, how do I work beyond this?  I’m pretty solidly an INFP.  I’m OK with that and am growing more comfortable in my own skin as time passes, but I don’t want the “I” part to stand in the way of my ministry.  What are your suggestions?

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3 Responses to “I need some pastoral advice”

  1. I thought about entering into the ministry as well. This is something I fear to, writing, and placing together coherent thoughts haha, and comforting those who need it. Where do you plan on going (Im no where near going to seminary or anything to the sorts)?
    May God grant you these gifts,
    In Christ,
    Brooks

  2. Don’t let the prototypical pastoral image get in the way of you using your God-given gifts to serve him. Remember, shepherding is a spiritual gift not an office. We’ve made it an office of authority in our culture. Usually that person isn’t a strong “I”. In terms of spiritual gifting, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. You might just need to think outside the box in terms of the way you use your gifting, assuming you indeed are gifted in the area of pastoral care. Maybe your gifting lies outside of shepherding???
    In either case, feel comfortable that you don’t have to live up to the expectations of the public. You serve the One who has given you the spiritual gifts. On the other hand, don’t feel compelled to be a pastor if that is not where your gifting lies. Maybe the Lord has some significant ministry for you in another area of gifting.

  3. Hey, thanks. My first thought when I began to seriously discern the call to pastoral work was, “Huh?! Me?!” It’s been a long process of denial, acceptance, denial again, lots of self-doubt and that kind of back-and-forth. At this point, I feel like this is the direction I’ve been pointed in, even though it doesn’t make tons of sense to me most of the time. I’m just making the leap of faith and hoping that I’ll keep finding helpful folks along the way.

    I appreciate the advice!

    R

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