I like reading blogs. I like reading my friends’ status’ on Facebook. It gives me a sense of connectedness even if just through the computer screen. In our world, friendship has taken on different forms. The internet makes is so easy to become friends with people we might never be in the same room with. I am, specifically thinking about the friends I have made through reading their blogs, and Facebook.
I have found that vital to my success and productivity as a
Pastor (grassroot theologian – as contrasted to a theologian in the halls of ivy?)
Tribe leader (my churches are my tribe(s), see also Seth Godin’s Tribes (thanks Jeff G.),
hopeful Innovater (Pastor’s must learn to re-invent, re-capture, re-present what has been true for thousands of years and yet is brand new to a new generation of Christians and non-Christians)
Futurist (Pastors must be futurist, attempt to observe current trends and what is just beyond the horizon). Someone should write about these and the many other facets of a Pastor’s life.
I have been Pastoring now for just over two years and I have learned that: 90% of what I have encountered as a Pastor, I have had to learn on the Job. Which means that I was only really equipped to handle 10%, that 10% was that I had to preach every Saturday, hold board meeting once a month and things of that nature. For the remaining 90% I have turned to mentors, friends, blogs and Facebook to learn from those who trekked this course before me. If you are reading this and tempted to think, “Man, anyone can become a pastor” that’s not necessarily the case. I have the ‘qualifications’ if any exist to be a pastor. I have an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies/ Pre-Seminary and a Master’s of Divinty (which is a two and half year degree) and I worked as a Youth Pastor for two years under the direction of a Senior Pastor who served and continues to serve as an excellent mentor. The reality is that in our always changing world the skill-set I learned in seven years in institutions of higher education have become useless which is why I say I was only really prepared to effectively handle 10% of my job responsibilities (for a more in depth understanding of this constantly changing world and the skills needed to lead well in this context look at Leonard Sweet’s Soul Tsunami, Alan Roxburgh’s The Sky is Falling and The Missional Leader and Erwin McManus’ An Unstoppable Force– if you have other titles send them my way).
All of this to say, that blogs and Facebook and other websites have provided a wealth of information. Specifically, BOOKS. I know everything can’t be learned from books but they sure help. Books help us understand in specific ways the world we are experiencing on a daily basis. The reality is that some people are good with putting words to a concept and that helps. So here is a list of books that I just purchased thanks in large part to my online community of friends and the books they were reading.
1. What Would Jesus Deconstruct? The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church by John D. Caputo
2. GloboChrist: The Great Comission Takes a Postmodern Turn by Carl Raschke
3. Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices by Brian McLaren
4. In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson
5. Evil and the Justice of God by N.T. Wright
6. The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why by Phyllis Tickle
The only problem is finding the time to finish reading all of these books. I think I still have a few books that I haven’t finished. Am I the only with this problem?
Finally and perhaps more importantly, as great as reading is there is one things that books cannot do. They cannot act, they cannot move foward in faith, they cannot risk.. that is our job. For me the best advice I have been given is “stop reading” with the connotation to start doing something (Thanks Samir). Ironic I know, but true.