Thursday, December 17, 2020
Written by Alan Vink
Categories: Pastors Blog
Tags: Ministry Practice
I have always had this distinct impression that Jesus had an immensely ‘likeable’ personality. When Luke 2:52 says that ‘Jesus grew in “stature and wisdom and favour with God and people” it clearly suggests that he had well developed personal traits (as we might call them today) that made him winsome and likeable. People enjoyed being around him. And keep in mind this was all the while Him being a disruptor of the current state of the religious order of things that he was working in, meaning, He had to say and do some pretty tough things.
Over the years I have noticed that some pastors have ‘it’ and others don’t. Here is my attempt to put the ‘it’ to words. I am hoping as I close out for 2020 that these thoughts might linger in your mind as you think about your life and work going into 2021 and beyond.
- Infinite capacity to love. To go through life with an open and loving heart is not easy — because people will take pot-shots at you, that old heart of yours will get banged up a bit — by lovers and colleagues and friends and family and kids. By life, too. Life can be a bit mean when it decides to be. But to hold onto a loving, generous spirit, no matter what your circumstances, will define your life.
- Live the width of their lives (as well as the length of them). None of us come into the world with a certified end date. All we have is the beginning, the knowledge that life will end and a mandate to operate as well as we can in the gap. Which is way harder than it sounds. Those who have it sorted worry less about the quantity of life and more about the quality of it. They fill it with meaning at all ages and stages. If you study people you’ll know who I mean. They’re the people with light in their eyes, who live in the present moment and make that moment count.
- Let their best be Good Enough. Perfection is a terrible task master. Arguably, the most commonly heard phrase in therapy is “I’m not good enough”. Of course it comes in many different packages but the bottom line is that it makes people feel inadequate, that they don’t hold a valid place in the world. The smartest amongst us don’t handcuff their efforts with unreachable standards. They set their goals for themselves, not the masses on Instagram or LinkedIn. They know when to pivot. When to step back and learn. When to quit. They know their own version of best is Good Enough. And they are happy with that…….very happy!
- Respond to criticism with Grace. In church work criticism can be particularly complicated. It so often is a mix of substance (a genuine concern), an opinion or preference and/or a personal attack albeit somewhat subtly. The pastor who can ‘handle him/herself with grace (kindness), dignity and decorum’ will always win in the end.
- See the funny side of life. A merry heart is an incredibly wonderful tonic in what is otherwise a very serious business that we are all in.
And finally for 2020
Let’s give thanks for all that the Lord has done this year. For His protection over our lives, for our families and loved ones, for the local church we are part of, for the privilege to gather together freely (and covid free) this Christmas and go on a holiday. And most of all for Jesus our redeemer, our ransom, our rescuer and our reconciler. And lastly, thank you to all my readers for your support, encouraging notes and occasional words of correction. I count it a HUGE privilege to show up in your ‘inbox’ every week and offer you a few thoughts about the local church we all so love and give our lives to it’s service.
Have a blessed Christmas and wonderful new year,
Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.