TRIAGE

You would not know it by the state of my office this afternoon, but I am highly organized person.  As a busy pastor, I have to be, or I would soon be swamped or consigned to a quiet room in a remote place with no loud noises.  I have a planner, project sheets, work flow preparation charts, a desk calendar, and the Holy Spirit.  I even schedule rest and vacation at appropriate times in the rhythms of my life.  I am organized.    As a busy pastor, I have to be, or I would soon be swamped or consigned to a quiet room in a remote place with no loud noises.

I also have people – people that I work with, people that I love, people that I pray for – people for whom I am a shepherd.  Actually, quite a few people. Several hundred of several generations.  I have a pastoral partner who also is their shepherd.  I have six elders who are shepherds; but there are simply a whole lot of people–and many of them are in crisis times of their lives.

So instead of preaching and teaching, coaching leaders, program planning, connecting with new people, studying and praying along the balance pattern I have developed, I am doing triage.  Crisis counseling, problem-solving, conflict management, and battling the occasional principality and power. Which then leads to doing the things at the head of this paragraph by triage as well.

That’s why I am glad I have the Holy Spirit.  As organized as we desire to be, contemporary pastoring (even if you have staff help) lends itself to triage. We live in a messy, problematic world, filled with dysfunction and short on spiritual strength.  That makes the pastor’s office more of an emergency room than a study.

It is the nature of pastoral ministry in 2011.

(C) 2011 by Stephen L. Dunn

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