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Talk to your pastor
November 7, 2011
by Rev. Bill Baldwin, Prairie Community Church, UCC, Lester Prairie

When was the last time you picked up the phone and talked to your pastor, or invited him or her to get together to talk things over? It’s probably been a long time, maybe never.

How will your pastor know you have anything on your mind if you don’t let him know by giving him a call? (I’m going to use “him” for ease of use, but I acknowledge all the wonderful women who are pastors out there.)

Whenever I want to see my doctor, I pick up the phone and call the clinic and ask for an appointment. They make the appointment and I go in. Very simple. Simple, yes, but people don’t seem to do it with their spiritual advisor, their pastor.

Yes, I know, people expect their pastor to be reaching out to people in need, and we certainly do that on a regular basis. But a pastor also wants to hear from the flock about the everyday things going on in life, too – and even more so if you have something of a little greater concern.

Your pastor is like your spiritual physician. No, we’re not doctors, but we are fairly well-trained to be careful listeners and trusted ears when you need it. And we all need it, so don’t kid me that you don’t.

Pastors take a vow of confidentiality about every conversation. They aren’t like some other people who are hungry for juicy bits of gossip that can be spread all over town. It just won’t happen with your pastor.

Pastors want to hear from you, not only if your life has broken down, but because being partners in the life of the church begs for us to reach out to each other and build relationships.

Your pastor is not a super holy person who is off limits to contact. Your pastor is an ordinary person who has a special role in your life as a careful listener and possibly, spiritual advisor. But hey, you can also talk to your pastor about the Vikings, Twins, the weather, or whatever you want. The important thing is to build a relationship so that if the time comes that you do need something in your life, you are not just a name and a place to your pastor.

Do you want to make your pastor’s day, week, and month? Give him a call and tell him you’d like him to stop by for a chat, or to go to the local restaurant for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. I guarantee it will warm his heart immensely.

Set up a specific place and time to meet, just like calling the doctor. And place a reasonable limit on the length of the visit. Just as you don’t expect to meet with your doctor all day, place a limit of an hour or so on your pastor’s time, too. It will be much appreciated because there are lots of things that need taking care of.

I was once told by a parishioner that people don’t call their pastor because it means either they are very sick, have done something bad, or are dying. Let’s erase all that from our minds. Your pastor is a person you can call just to get to know each other a little better.

So how about making this the day to call your pastor for a little get-together? Remember, pastor’s are not mind readers. They don’t know what you’re thinking or what you need. They’re just plain old people in a particular role in life.

I am willing to bet that every hour you spend with your pastor will be somewhat memorable.