Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pastoral Conference, Day 2

Well, Day 2 did not live up to the promise of Day 1. Some of the presentations and discussion were not bad, but whereas the Gospel was so evident on Day 1, it was church growthism and modern day charismaticism that soured Day 2. We heard of church starts that really aren't churches, but coffee houses, and an hour and a half on one pastor's healing ministry. (What does that mean? Think a "Lutheran" Benny Hinn.) So whereas I left Day 1 filled with the Gospel of forgiveness and hope, and I left Day 2 filled with the Law and sadness.

Now, why is that? Because what was communicated through these presentations (usually implicitly) is that if you're not doing these things, you are failing people in your ministry, you are not being the pastor God wants you to be, you need to be what we are. Really? And so I worry about the new pastors and the younger pastors in the district who hear these words, and the burden that they must feel. And I am saddened. Many of them are in challenges places, doing their very best, faithfully proclaiming God's Word and giving His Sacraments. But then they are told: That's not good enough. You're not good enough.

You know what? We know that. I think all pastors know that. We're not good enough. There's always more we can and should be doing. Why can't we build up our pastors at these conferences?

Perhaps (to put the best construction on this), the district thought they were. Perhaps they thought these presentations were uplifting and edifying. If so, I must tell them: No, they aren't.

I have the outline of a response that I will be writing on one of these presentations and sending to the District President, my Circuit Counselor, and (I hope) will be sent to all the pastors in the district, to challenge some of what was asserted. It will not be an attack, but rather (I hope) a scholarly critique of what was said, a correction of some of the assertions, and a questioning of the assumptions. I will post it here when I am finished, too.

Finally, my presentation, you ask? Well, I thought it just okay. Thinking back, I could have presented some things better, and the projector didn't work as I had hoped, so that interfered a bit. But, I had several guys come up to me afterwards who appreciated it, so hopefully God will bring some good out of it. :-)

So, that's it. I'm glad I went, though I had to miss the last half-day because I had to return late Tuesday night for my class on Wednesday. It was good to reconnect with many guys, meet the new pastors, and even to hear the not-so-good-stuff so that I can respond and hopefully provide some small bit of correction.


John said...

Hi Jim,

I wasn't there. Parish and family responsibilities had a stronger pull. But you have confirmed some of my thoughts and fears - both positive and not so positive. Glad you went. Kyrie Eleison. J. Gutz

Pastor Peasant said...


Yes, I missed seeing you! Since I miss much these days due to my schooling, it was good to be there and reconnect with many of the brothers. I guess I will see you next year at the convention. The Lord be with you.