Pastor. Church. You.

   We are getting to Church and to You before long. I have a notebook filling up on the subject(s) at hand. We are still working on advice for the pastor(s) just now.

To be a pastor these days is much like visiting a national park. You are attracted by the natural wonders, stay until the tent becomes too uncomfortable and exit hoping you did not leave a raging forest fire behind you.

   Imagine you are a called person with a sense of vocare, of sacred calling. You leave off more lucrative pursuits to follow your calling. You prepare, you train, you pray, you study, you practice. When you are young you make up in energy what you lack in experience. When you are older you make up in experience when your energy flags, or so you hope.

   Then, one day, you realize your experience is worthless because the Church grabbed on to the wired world and sped by you while you sat quietly in your prayer room, knotching your knees and caressing your books.

   In fact, your experience is killing you. You are not wired. You are not media savvy. You don't know how to seat a wireless card or rig a set. You don't understand the Mac User Cult and you just want your phone to make calls.

    What to do?

   Well, where does your experience still count?

   In life, one would assume. Hopefully, you accrued some wisdom along with your education. There is poetry now in your prose because you have lived on this pale orb long enough to hear the tune rather than just mouth the lyrics.

   My Starbucks church is made up of persons in their twenties and thirties. Our coffee shop is gone but we meet, now in homes, thence to the church. One of the live-in couples (as are they all) have married (no, they do not care if you know) and two others have set dates to solemnize their vows. Some have received Christ, others draw closer than they think.

   My police officer friend is in his 20's. We talk almost daily and he comes to divine services here now. He is a great help to me personally.

   I started their discipleship by listening to their story (all of us have one) and telling them mine. My story is religious, Christian-religious before you get too far into it. After they had exhausted their story for awhile, each began to ask, "Rick, what would you do about this?"

  Suddenly, your experience is an asset. It may not be an asset in church, or with the church crowd, but if you would penetrate the culture, live where the lost goats are and pay less attention to the bleating sheep.

   Make connections, build community. You have so much to give.

   Be your own coach. Put yourself where your experience is an asset.

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