pastor: a spiritual overseer ; especially : a clergyman serving a local church or parish
minister: one officiating or assisting the officiant in church worship; to give aid or service
I suppose that one of my biggest problems with church today is the fact that most pastors of churches are sorely lacking in ministering ability.
Most pastors resemble CEO's rather than actual shepherds of a flock.
But then, you knew that.
That said, I find, lately, that one area that women and men are geniunely and representatively equal in, is in the pastor-ing phenomena.
Both sexes suck.
As someone once said, most are so heavenly-minded that they are no earthly good.
I've served as an elder in a church, I've been on a worship team, I've taught children's ministry, and done prayer intercession. My observation of most pastors...and unfortunately this includes some home groups' pastors, is that they haven't a REAL clue as to what is going on with their "flock." They are so wrapped up in the mechanics of the church, the survival of the walls and the bricks that they abandon any hope of resembling a shepherd. Their sheep are milling around in the flower beds, munching away at potentially poisonous substances while the shepherd looks out and thinks, "My gracious, what a sunny day! Isn't it glorious to be in the Lord today? Turn to your Bibles to...."
Meanwhile the sheep are turning purple from the pursuit of noxious weeds and dropping dead from neglect...
But, you knew that.
Once we all had to divide up the list of the congregation among the elders and deacons in order to help with the flock. We were all to keep contact with "our people" and report back what was happening so that the pastor could call them. What, you say? That's a great organizational way to handle large amounts of people. Sure it is. I guess. But the church only had 20 families. Do the math. Call four families a day. And, although dividing up the masses would seem an ideal solution to keeping up with folks, the problem exists of someone stepping on another elder or deacon's toes by checking on a family not on their list. People are way freakin' weird.
Anyway, maybe in pastor school these shepherds are trained in rote responses to various problems. It seems that way, because most of the time they have these canned answers to things:
"Have you forgiven him/her?"
"It's God's will."
"God works in many ways."
"Remember, God loves everyone."
The problem with these answers are they are not "one size fits all." The gift of listening, REALLY listening to each troubled, hurting soul is a lost art on a lot of these people. And this dis-ability knows no sex, no age. Most of the time, it boils down to spouting what seems to be the proper "duty phrases" so that things will move along, and the day can get tended...not the flock.
But, you knew that.
My thoughts are that perhaps real-life, human responses need to be given; an acknowledgement and recognition of the real pain that people are going through:
"I can't believe you have endured this."
"I haven't a clue what God's plan is in this."
"Are you angry with God? I would be."
"God forgives and forgets; but we're human. Forgiveness is hard for us"
"Let's work on this together."
I guess I would really like to see pastors who are truly ministers. I would like to see ALL of us as true ministers. Listening empathetically to each other; really listening. Offering encouragement and support; and when we don't have the answers, then saying that we don't have the answers...but that we care. We really care.
But, then, you knew that.