This week, I called the home of a church staff member, and her son jokingly called for his mom by saying "Mom, your boss is on the phone!" I laughed with her that it was certainly me, but I was not so sure about the "boss" part.
On Wednesday, I was a part of a panel discussion. Along with two clergy colleagues about my age, we sat before a cohort of United Methodist District Superintendents convened by the Lewis Cener for Church Leadership. The topic was young clergy specifically and church renewal generally. One of the many things we raised and discussed is the reality that younger clergy generally prefer a collaborative, team based approach to ministry.
I know this is an essentail truth for me. I understand my role as pastor to be like Eph. 4:12 says it: "equipping the saints for the work of ministry, building up the body of Christ." The way I see things, serving Christ (as pastor or in any other role) is really not about status, hierarchy, or being out in front. If God can be born in Jesus as a human baby, eat with sinners, wash feet, and die on a criminal's cross, then following Jesus must have something to do with this way of living.
I have about 30 years of ordained ministry ahead of me. I hope that by the time I retire, our church will have learned to stop putting clergy on pedestals, and accepted that we are all sinners, in need of God's grace...and that together, the Holy Spirit finds ways to use for amazing and wonderful things.