67 Year Old Parish Priest Gives Advice Gained From More Than 40 Years Of Pastoral Ministry.

Bob Groth was a “coachee” of mine. Pastor Bob is 67 years old and has been pastoring for more than 40 years. A former Lutheran pastor, Bob now ministers at the Vineyard Community Church in Oregon, Wisconsin, a congregation he affectionately refers to as his parish.

There’s not a lot of ministers out there that have been pastoring for 40 years so the other day our coaching appointment turned more into an interview.

“Bob”, I said, “pastors, both young and old, often ask me what I feel the most basic, and simple tasks a pastor should invest their time in. If you were to come up with a list of the basics, what would that list be?” Here’s the list Bob came up with… I think it’s awesome!

1. The pastor must put his family first.

2. The pastor must take seriously his/her call to be a preacher/teacher, which means, investing an appropriate amount of time in his/her sermon preparation.

3. The pastor must be available for hospital visitation, visiting shut-ins, etc.

4. The pastor must attend to his/her own spiritual growth. The spiritual growth of the pastor will spill over into the parish producing a spiritually growing congregation.

5. The pastor must be available, and invest time, in ministering to the dysfunctional.

6. The pastor must be available to respond to crisis.

7. The pastor must make time to develop meaningful and supportive relationships with other pastors.

8. The pastor must be present to administer the various ceremonies and sacraments associated with his/her calling, example: Communion, baptisms, weddings and funerals.

9. It’s the pastor’s job to always remember, God is in control.

I then asked Bob, “Do you mind me asking you about a few typical responsibilities of the pastor that I could not but help notice were not on your list?”

Dave: “What about administration?”

Bob: “Oh, I don’t really do much of that. Things are so simple here there’s not much administration to take up my time.”

Dave: “What about leadership development?”

Bob: “Well… we have 2 small groups, one for men and one for women. Any leadership development that occurs happens naturally in those settings. We don’t really have any “program” per se.

Dave: “What about discipleship?”

Bob: “Once again, discipleship happens naturally in our small groups. No real “program” other than that.

How refreshing!