The other day I came across something entitled: How to tell you have arrived as a big-shot preacher. Be assured I do not feel – nor have I ever – like a big shot preacher or that I have arrived in ministry. So with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, here they are:
1) You have a Bible published with your very own commentary notes.
“The Official Jerry Bigshot Bible.” It still has the basic 66 books of the Holy Scripture of course, but no one is buying it for that. They purchase it for the wonderful, scintillating, incisive–and insert a lot of other dynamic adjectives here!–notes at the bottom of each page.
How in the world Martin Luther pulled off the Reformation without your assistance is anybody’s guess.
2) You have two secretaries. One who works for you and the other who works for her.
Both lord it over the rest of the office staff since they work for the (ahem) head guy, but hey, that’s life and it’s to be expected.
3) You have research assistants to do your Bible study for you.
You can recall when you had time to check out the root of that Hebrew or Greek word. But those days are behind you. You’re just too busy for that any more.
4) You get invited to large events to speak. Or, if you don’t, you leave the impression you do.
Small Churches with little people are “out of your league.”
5) The media calls for your “take” on events of the day.
Knowing they may call you find yourself practicing in advance what you will say.
6) You no longer have to attend those preacher’s meetings in your own county.
Everyone there knows you’d certainly be there if you weren’t just so busy flying hither and yon to speak. These days, you no longer know those pastors anyway, so attending their meetings would be awkward. Best to spare everyone the embarrassment by avoiding them altogether.
7) The mayor treats you like the CEO of a major employer in the community.
8) You’ve almost forgotten what the inside of a hospital room, nursing home or retirement center looks like.
You have other people doing the actual shepherding of your congregation. You’re above that sort of thing now.
9) You camouflage your dereliction of pastoral duties by fancy terms like vision-casting, motivation, and leadership.
Meanwhile, the pastor of the smaller church down the street is doing the actual shepherding of some of your members. They actually call him and ask if he could go to the hospital because you’re just too busy. They ask for his advice because you’re off at the meeting of the World Alliance for Global Alliances.
10) And finally, you know you have arrived as a big-shot pastor when you lie awake at night, unable to sleep because you are missing the actual work of pastoring your people.
You envy the pastor down the street.
I want you to know I love being a pastor and you make my task a joy and delight!
Photo by Akira Hojo on Unsplash