Monday, July 16, 2007

10 Questions to keep Pastors on Track

In the Unofficial United Methodist Handbook for Pastors, on page 33 and 34, there is a list of questions that a pastor should ask him/herself to see if s/he is doing what the good book (aka: The Book of Discipline) says we are to be doing as pastors. Here is the list.


  1. If your desk is full, which item do you push to the back of the desk for later? Why?
  2. How do you keep this decision-making from being solo work?
  3. If you were putting the four major categories into the order of your gifts, what would be the sequence: Word and ecclesial acts? Sacraments? Order? Service?
  4. If you were putting the four major categories into the amount of time you spend on them what would be the sequence? (It might help to keep a journal of this for a few weeks; some things seem to take a long time but are actually handled in a few, unexciting minutes): Word and ecclesial acts? Sacraments? Order? Service?
  5. If you could talk to one of our ancestors in the faith (e.g. Francis Asbury, Chrstian Newcomer, Marjorie Matthews, John Dreisbach, Mary McLeod Bethune), what would you want to ask about pastoral ministry?
  6. Which of the responsibilities and duties do you think is busy work? Why would the General Conference (who wrote The Discipline) think this item helped the ministry of Jesus Christ?
  7. Which of the responsibilities and duties is aimed at internal church life and which is aimed at external church outreach? How do you feel about what you discover?
  8. Which is more important to a team's success: a football quarterback, a basketball point guard, or a baseball lead-off batter? (This has a little directly to do with the task at hand, but it might provide a relaxing diversion as you press on)
  9. If John Wesley read the list of duties and responsibilities in paragraph 340, what do you think would most horrify him? Most please him?
  10. If you had been preparing this list of questions, what question would you include? (Maybe you can bring it up at the next district pastors meeting.)

I thought these questions would be interesting to look into and I plan on blogging my answers in the future. I am finding this book, The Unofficial United Methodist Handbook for Pastors very interesting. It is a little cheeky at parts but it is a good overview about how to handle yourself as a minister and do what you are called to do. It's advice ranges from how to lead a meeting to how to drink coffee. Plus a lot more. I would recommend it to anyone new to the ministry or, like me, taking on their first senior pastor position (or if you simply need guidance on how to get back on the right track).

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