Sunday, March 28, 2010

A loss of identity

I had this thought the other day while running...

Being a pastor means a loss of individual identity. Once you are a pastor in a congregation you are forever a pastor. In fact often it means that you lose identity outside of "pastor." Your name is sacrificed for the title and job. You are no longer seen as a person with purpose or identity outside of that of pastor and you undergo a metamorphoses from a normal person with normal hobbies and interest to "pastor."

There are few other professions/vocations/jobs that cause people to undergo the same change as that of the vocation of pastor. Most other jobs you are able to leave work at work and have a life at home away from the stresses of work. Most other professions do not require 24 hour on-call availability and even your days off become work days due to the requirements of the office/members/etc.

And so what does this all mean, especially for me? I'm not entirely sure. Right now I am neither pastor nor member of the congregation that I am working with; I'm in some sort of limbo in between. It's not as if I wasn't already aware of what I was getting into. But the more that I work at the church the more I realize that the role of pastor is not one that just anyone can fill; and how much more I appreciate the 40 years of ministry that my supervisor has done. And who knows, after a few years of my own ministry in the church I'll have a different perspective on all of this.