The woman looked up from her desk in the apartment rental office and asked, “So you are a pastor? A priest?” This did not take clairvoyance on her part. I was wearing a clerical collar. She followed up the question with what I suspect many think but are too polite to say out loud: “That sounds like a cake job. You preach a little message and do a little communion – full-time pay for what, like a 4 hour work week?”
Here is what I have done in the four hours since my four hour a week job was “over”:
- Had a conversation with a staff member about stepping up their job performance
- Drove 23 miles to feed the dog of a person in a psych ward
- Did behind the scenes warming up of board members for future conversations about leadership expectations
- Provided emotional support to a woman choosing not to treat her reoccurring cancer
- Talked to a parishioner in jail
- Supported our children’s workers by lovingly suspending a child from church for a pattern of behaving badly
- Led a board meeting in which I had to communicate bad news and then help people remain confident in the face of it
- Anointed a teenager in the hospital who has been shot in the head and prayed with his mom
Don’t misunderstand me, ministry is a fantastic gig. But an easy one? Not so much.
Good thing this is only part-time. People might start having expectations.