It is now a month since the summer holiday and, so far, there has been little time for blogging. Truth is I’ve been so busy and too exhausted to blog; which raises the question why? Is it that I’m disorganised or do I have unreal expectations of myself? Perhaps I’ve simply got a death wish or some distorted view of myself as indispensable? Then again it may be because I like playing God and want to be needed?
When I look at my diary it has been full but not overwhelming. I’ve prepared and preached five sermons, taken two funerals, visited people close to death, had in depth conversations with people about things going on in their lives, interred ashes, written several hundred emails (and read many more) and attended numerous meetings. All in all a fairly typical ministerial life! In addition we’ve also had a new youth worker start and I’ve spent one day in Didcot.
As I reflect on all this I wonder if I under rate two important elements of ministerial life:
1. The weight of responsibility. Even if it can’t be easily quantified in a church where several people are having tests and treatment for life threatening conditions, on average one person a week is bereaved and others deal with issues of redundancy or financial pressure there is a sense of pastoral responsibility which doesn’t go away even when most of the front line pastoral care is provided by others.
2. Emotional energy. Just because I enjoy doing something such as preaching doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require reserves of emotional energy. Likewise funerals and such like can be draining, not because they are difficult but because they are emotionally charged occasions.
If I had cracked a good way of balancing all these things I’d write a book and go on a speaking tour to share my five steps to ministerial success– but I haven’t. So like most other ministers I will just have to continue to make the best fist of it I can whilst reminding myself I am called to be rather than to do.