One of my colleagues is really different than I am. Maybe it’s because he’s had enough of “challenging the troops.” Maybe he’s seen enough pain in lives and congregations to be skeptical of the kinds of ‘charges’ that pastors like me seem to relish. My colleague has been called to minister to a church that is in the middle of a retirement home. He tells me with a sigh of great satisfaction that he spends his days, “hugging and kissing, teaching and ministering to some of the greatest saints you’ll ever meet.” Sometimes I am jealous of him and I get the sense that sometimes he thinks he’s supposed to be more like me.
I take the hill, he cares for grandma. And mostly I think that most of us assume that these are two different types of pastoral ministries. It is common to hear talk about the differences between “missional” ministry and “chaplaincy”; about “leading” vs. “care-taking”; about “church renewal” vs. “church hospice”. And in some ways, the distinction is really apt. But in other ways, I think those distinctions reveal both our own projections about ourselves and a convenient way to avoid what is true about all churches.
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