Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Perfect Week in the Life of a Senior Pastor

At last summer’s Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels spoke on the topic, “A Vision To Die For.” He opened his talk by jokingly describing the perfect week in the life of a Senior Pastor:

The pastor finishes his sermon on a Sunday morning and the message that he gives is so anointed and powerful that he spikes his Bible on the stage as he walks off. He gets in his car and he does three victory laps around the parking lot just waving to the people. He goes then to the summer home of a wealthy church member for a three day time of solitude and spiritual retreat where he asks God to talk to him about the future of his church. Two days into the retreat, God opens the windows of heaven and dumps a smoking hot vision for the future of this pastor’s church. The vision is so exciting that the pastor’s fingers are trembling as he types it all out on his laptop. He can’t wait to get back home to his family and to his church to talk to them about this vision that God gave him. But he was supposed to be away for three days so on Wednesday he squeezes in a round of golf. He beats his handicap by four strokes. He even gets a hole in one on the 18th.

He pulls into his driveway on Wednesday night. His kids are already in bed but his wife is up and she stays up listening to his vision for the church for two solid hours. She is in awe of the vision that God gave the pastor. As she dozes off to sleep that night she thinks quietly to herself, “I am not worthy to be wed to such an extraordinary man who in three days can single-handedly discern the will of God for the whole church for the next five years. I am just not worthy.” The next two mornings the pastor goes into the church office and he holds up privately to write out his thoughts so he can deliver the vision talk this coming Sunday. Some staff members wander around the office wondering what happened on the pastor’s three day retreat but his trusty assistant keeps them at bay saying it is all top secret stuff. They are going to all have to wait until Sunday.

When Sunday arrives and he finally casts the vision that God gave him on that three day retreat, he really casts this vision. And he knows it is going pretty well when the head Elder stands up and cries out, “These are not the words of a mere mortal.” People are clapping one moment and crying the next. The vision is received so enthusiastically by the congregation that they give him a standing ovation at the end. In fact, board members hoist him up on their shoulders and carry him down the center aisle. Large donors are meeting in the corner and they have got their checkbooks out and they are arguing with each other about who is going to get to underwrite the whole thing. The Executive Pastor and the whole staff of the church line the sidewalk leading to the parking lot. As the pastor walks to his car after the last service, they cheer wildly for him. They can’t believe how exciting the next five years of their lives are going to be and that they get to play on the team that is quarterbacked by such a pastor as this. When the pastor drives home from that Sunday service, he drives up his driveway and his family is out there waiting for him. As he gets out of his car they rise up and they call him “blessed.” He gives them each a little peck on the cheek, throws his jacket over his shoulder, and says, “All in a week’s work, gang. All in a week’s work.”

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