A few weeks back I turned on the computer to find that Pope Benedict is resigning. He says that he no longer has the mental or physical strength to cope with his ministry. Pope Benedict is 85 years old. The median age of the 10 oldest popes on record is 85.6, so maybe it was a good move, physically and mentally. But it made me think: if you've been called by God, can you resign from ministry?
Most of us lay people serve in ministries as a side interest, taking on new ministries and resigning from ministries as our busy lives and interests allow. But what about pastors? There are some people who become pastors, maybe because they didn't know what to major in at college. But others have been called by God. My husband says that he's always known he was going to be a pastor. He was dedicated by his parents to pastoral ministry when a baby. Luckily, he also grew up with the talents for and interest in leading others to Christ. He started his career fairly young, around 20. Must he be a pastor until age 67-70? Or can he resign now after 20 years of ministry and pursue a new career? Are you called by God to the same ministry forever?
What about the mental and physical demands of ministry? Pastors work 24-7. If someone is in the hospital in the middle of the night, you're on. Holidays - Christmas and Easter, you're not only on, but you are usually working overtime (with no overtime pay). Even if you are off, and on vacation, you end up running into church members and once again, you're on. What does that do to your mental and physical strength? The Adventist church gives pastors sabbaticals to rest and refresh their bodies and minds. But why are there still so many pastors who leave ministry? And take it from me, there are many more pastors out there who want to leave ministry.
I think it's because its a futile job. Just like my field of special education. We are working every day with people who can't, don't want to, and maybe never will reach their full potential. That's really frustrating. How do we cope? For teachers, we live for summer vacation and graduation, knowing we've done our best with these students and hope that someone else will find a new and different way to reach them later in life. Some pastors do the same. They move on after 3-5 years, so someone new can try to inspire this uninspired lot. Or they move on to bigger and better things (conference positions, healthcare administration, etc.) where the big bucks are.
I think pastors, teachers, nurses, anyone in people professions should leave their positions once they no longer care. Perhaps this applies to all jobs. If you work at Starbucks and you don't care about my drink, please resign. If you're a mechanic and you don't care about my car, resign! If you work in Congress and don't care about our country, please leave.
It's a struggle to keep caring about others, even when they don't want your care and concern. God does this every day. He won't resign because of a lack of physical and emotional strength to deal with us pesky humans. Maybe he'll give me the power to continue to deal with the people around me, one day at a time.
It started this past Sabbath, but it's absolutely not too late to join in!
This week - all week - Seventh-day Adventists across the North American Division are being very intentional about impacting somebody's life for Christ. As you're reading this, people are asking God for opportunities to interact with specific people on Christ's behalf, and looking for those opportunities before the coming weekend. By faith, they named someone on Sabbath. By faith, they're asking God to open doors. And by faith, they're seizing the opportunities that God provides.
It's an easy way for absolutely everyone to become engaged in community outreach, in that almost anything a person does to reach out to someone else counts for the project. Everybody gets to fight in his or her own armor. Everybody gets a chance to see God working to open possibilites for outreach with people we love. And this coming Sabbath, we'll be sharing what God did to answer our prayers.
If you didn't kick off your seven days this past Sabbath, you can still do it. It's not too late. Take a look at the materials posted at www.sevendaysofmiracles.com and forward the link to your church members. They're remarkably easy to read and to implement.
Imagine what might happen if everybody touched just one life for Christ this week. Imagine what might happen if every member started to realize just how deeply God longs to answer prayers for other people!
ELLEN WHITE ON FEMALE LEADERSHIP
by Edwin Garcia
Seventh-day Adventist Church Co-founder Ellen White took an active role in encouraging women in leadership positions, though she never directly weighed in on whether they should or shouldn't be ordained ministers.
Still, during her 70-year public ministry, she advocated for more women to become pastors, criticized male chauvinists within the church who sneered at female leaders, and insisted that women working in ministry receive equal pay to their male counterparts.
She also suggested that in many situations women were ideal laborers for the gospel ministry because they were better suited than some men for certain aspects of pastoral roles, such as home visits, particularly when working as a team alongside their pastor husbands. Women as ministers, she noted, could better connect with other women to further the gospel, stated Roger W. Coon of the Ellen G. White Estate, in his 1986 writing, "Ellen G. White's View of the Role of Women in the SDA Church." Read More
TO THE POINT: GREATNESS
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." - Mark Twain
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
"Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else." - Judy Garland
"Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence - whether much that is glorious - whether all that is profound - does not spring from disease of thought- from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect." - Edgar Allan Poe
"A great man is always willing to be little." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Wherever you find a great man, you will find a great mother or a great wife standing behind him - or so they used to say. It would be interesting to know how many great women have had great fathers and husbands behind them." - Dorothy L. Sayers
"Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
BEST PRACTICES WEBINAR - APRIL 16, 2013
Managing the Risks Between Pulpit and Pew
Join us for a Webinar on April 16, 1:30 - 2:30 pm EDT
In this litigious age, pastors deal with many challenges surrounding people, places, and things. Being aware of relational landmines and legal pitfalls is half the battle as you lead your congregations.
Each year the Seventh-day Adventist Church spends millions of dollars on employee issues. Arthur Blinci will provide pastors with a better understanding of the risks they face on a daily basis and provide them with resources that will assist in their ministry.
Rob Bell can't stay out of trouble.First hell, now gay marriage. Quote: "I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think ... we need to affirm people wherever they are."
Christians: at least we should be nice! Quote: "These are the moments when it's embarrassing to be a Christian. I'm not embarrassed to believe the extravagant claims of Christianity: that Christ was born to a virgin, died for our sins, physically rose from the grave and is returning to rule the world. But I am embarrassed to be associated with some of the people who claim his name."
IDEAS, EVENTS, RESOURCES, ANNOUNCEMENTS
Andrews University Christian Leadership Conference, July 21-22, 2013, Howard Center for the Performing Arts. Featured speaker CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien. Presession July 19-21, 2013 (Friday night plenary; Sabbath morning Plenary; Afternoon breakout workshops; Sunday morning workshops),featured speaker for the pre-session: R. Scott Rodin on his book The Steward Leader. Pre-session Registration fee: $50 (includes 1-year subscription to Journal of Applied Christian Leadership. Regular session: $150. For more information, phone: (269) 471-8332, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Seventh-day Adventist Church will produce small group discussion guides and other materials to go along with the 11-part mini-series The Record Keeper. It is designed to reach the secular audience and scheduled to be released this summer. More information here.
THE ADVENTISTS 2 is slated to be released soon. The film is the sequel to The Adventists, an award-winning film seen on Public Television stations that became a national success. It examines how Adventists are changing healthcare around the world. The DVD will be distributed by the Pacific Press® Publishing Association. More information here.