On Being a Pastor for 3 Years
I have now been a pastor for 3 years.
I was ordained a pastor on Friday, September 6, 2019. I still vividly remember that evening. I felt so many emotions. I felt anxious that everything would go according to plan (it did not, and that was OK). I felt fear wondering what I had gotten myself into. I felt humbled to be entering into this global Lutheran church as a pastor. I felt the physical weight of the stole when it was placed on me - which later felt like nothing at all. I felt love when all of the other clergy in attendance surrounded me and laid their hands on my shoulders. Someone told me that after the stole was placed on me, you could see a smile slowly creep in until it completely took over my face. That evening, when I became a pastor, just felt right and what I was supposed to be doing with my life.
As I started my ministry at St. Stephen Lutheran Church a few weeks later, I remember counting down the months that I had been pastor. I would think, “I’ve now been a pastor for 4 weeks!” and then, “I’ve now been a pastor for 3 and a half months.” I was like a kid when they tell their age: “ I’m 3 and half years old!” Once I got to the 1 year point, I stopped counting the months I had been a pastor… it seemed silly.
The 3 year mark is an important one in the Lutheran church. For the first 3 years, a pastor is labeled as “first-call.” With this designation there are extra things you are required to do, such as first-call retreats and being assigned a mentor.
And now here I am at the 3 year mark (or more precisely at this writing, 3 years and 4 weeks). I am now considered a “pastor” with no other label attached to that title.
There has been a lot that has happened. From the start of the pandemic and the need for flexibility, to returning to in-person worship with so many precautions, to discerning where God was calling me, to me getting the call to a new church. I’ve fine tuned my strengths (visiting people) and worked on my weaknesses (administration). I’ve felt those same emotions from my ordination day at various times over these past 3 years. In some ways it feels like 10 years of ministry has been crammed into 3 years.
I'm excited to see where the next 3, 6, 10 years of ministry takes me (as a smile slowly spreads across my face).
Peace and blessings,