This week I had lunch with an old friend that was on my High School water polo team (isn’t Facebook something). He looked good and I was glad to catch up. He was able to fill me in on how all my old teammates are doing and what they are now up to. One is the team physician for an NFL team, another is a high powered attorney for a major LA law firm. One is owner and operator of several restaurants in the LA area. He asked me what I am doing. I started to tell him and was able to express how Jesus had really changed my life.
Lately I have answered this question by saying, I am a founder and director for a non-profit organization that helps resource people to follow Christ and start organic churches. That usually raises more questions about what the church is and is not. I also tend to say, I am an author as well. All of this is true, but none of it truly expresses who I am or what my true role is.
Then he asked me a question that I really struggle with answering these days. He asked, “Are you a minister?”
In earlier days that was an easy question to answer. It was a slamdunk: Yes. I was a pastor of a church--a “real” church (tongue in cheek). I went to seminary, was ordained by my denomination and would preach sermons every Sunday to a congregation that spoke of me as their pastor.
The Lord has taken me down a different path in the last ten years, however, and I do not fit in the old paradigm any longer. I tried to explain that, but it isn’t easy since our language has not caught up with the new expression of the church.
When I am not on the road, I spend a relaxing Sunday morning getting a coffee and a light breakfast while I read the paper, my Bible, and journal a bit. I am part of a church but it meets in a home on Wednesday evenings, and I am not really a pastor. I no longer preach sermons or have elder meetings. I do not do much pastoral counseling or supervise staff that run programs.
In these days, I can no longer just say I am a pastor. I function in a more apostolic role, but I can’t see myself putting that on my business card anytime too soon. As uncomfortable as I am with describing my new role in the kingdom of God I am far more at home now than when I was in the old system. It isn’t really important that I have a title or clearly understood role as it is that I fulfill all that God has called me to do one day at a time.
Today I believe that every follower of Christ is a minister. All who have the Holy Spirit are ordained. I love the new paradigm much more and am glad to discover my identity in this movement.