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A Preacher, His Priorities and Piety

"Piety always upholds the preacher in his constant need to discern priorities."  This is from chapter 2 of The Preacher and Preaching, entitled, The Preacher and Piety, (page 69) written by Erroll Hulse.  When I read this sentence I said out loud, "Wow!".
I responded audibly because I had never made the connection between a man's pursuit of godliness and the setting of priorities.  Unfortunately the author doesn't elaborate. In fact, here is the rest of the brief paragraph:
"Which tasks must be attended to first? There is always the necessity of wisdom in the fulfillment of responsibilities, as well as a gracious disposition that should characterize the execution of them."

Pastor's struggle with setting priorities.  In fact, to be able to do so would be a luxury in some cases.  I know in my experience, the needs of the members of the church push their way into my day.  I never know what a day will hold regardless of what I see on my Google calendar.  And this is good; it is part of the calling.  People and their struggles with sin and with others are not something that lends itself to a schedule.

But what about that other part of pastoral care that isn't 'intrusive'?  What about the sheep under our care who rarely, if ever, call on their shepherd?  They must still be tended to, pastored, prayed for and inquired about.  But when? Priorities.  How does my pursuit of godliness or my growth in piety inform me or uphold me in my constant need to discern my priorities?

And what about the issue of study that is not related to the weekly preaching duties?  When is it legitimate for the pastor to take up a subject of interest, or a theological subject that has become an order of business in the presbytery he serves?  How does he discern when to stop studying for his sermon, when not to call a member of the congregation to make room for this study.  Even more direct; is it legitimate to block out a period of time daily, weekly or even monthly for this kind of study? And if so, if someone is to call and request a meeting with the pastor at the time when the study has been schedule, is it legitimate for the pastor to say he is not available?  Priorities.  How does my pursuit of godliness or my growth in piety inform me or uphold me in my constant need to discern my priorities?

These are issues of priority and I am very curious about the connection of the pastor's piety to his discernment regarding these priorities. I am not sure which way to go with my thinking.  But I am intrigued.  Do you have any thoughts?


Comments

  1. Great questions - I think about these things, too. Glad you're blogging about it now, so you can help me out.

    ReplyDelete

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