i was recently given an assignment by my friend and colleague, david hatch, executive director of iiron. one step in this assignment was writing this... it has helped give me clarity as i grow as a leader and pastor. thanks david.
I am a pastor because I am here to create:
I am a pastor because I am here to create communities of sanctuary—safe places, where people who don't “fit” safely other places have a place to explore who they are, to explore who they might become, and to simply exist in community.
I am a pastor because I am here to create communities that become families to those away from family, or those who never had the opportunity to experience a loving community in the first place.
I am a pastor because I am here to create communities where people feel dignity and love and power when approached by God, or the idea of God, or church, and not degradation and judgment.
I am a pastor because I am here to create a world where those oppressed by abuse or other injustice are freed to speak out against injustice, and find others to join them in speaking out, giving them power—and a world where they can do this in the name of God.
I am a pastor because I am here to create a world where bullies are called out on their bullshit. A world where repent isn't screamed at the suffering, so that they suffer even more, but is screamed at those who are benefiting from others' suffering—and at those who get sick joy out of the suffering of others.
I am a pastor because I am here to create a church that looks differently than churches that have been more abusive and repressive than liberative and life-giving. This is necessary, as many neighborhoods and towns still have no churches that preach liberation and love for all people, even though they read the bible which contains such a message every day.
I am a pastor because I believe that spirituality in community is important, and that faith practiced communally has the power to liberate people from themselves and from others, through song, through story, and through ritual.
I am a pastor because I believe deeply in the message of God's grace, and that the implications of that grace is radical freedom to act in love for God, Neighbor, and Creation. If Christ alone justifies us, then all cultural measures of wealth, status, class, race, creed, etc., are dissolved, and the only thing that matters now is faith active in love (Galatians 5:6).
I am a pastor because I believe deeply in Jesus' teachings about God's Kingdom On Earth As It Is In Heaven, where the last shall be first, the unjust powerful shall be torn from their thrones, those caught in sin are shown mercy, and those who care for the least of these feed, clothe, and visit Christ in prison, as they do the same to those in need (Matthew 25).
I am a pastor because I am here to create communities who strive toward the ethic of grace and the vision of God's Kingdom mentioned above, and that strive to change the world outside of their communities to reflect those values as well.