Orientation To Pastoral Work

Click on the link below to go to the first post in the sequence so that they can be read in order. Each sequence addresses a topic, and the series of posts is like an article. The link to the next post in the series will be found in the upper and lower left corner of each post.

AN ORIENTATION TO PASTORAL WORK – This sequence proposes a five-session “orientation to pastoral work” experienced over five months for new pastors in the Kaskaskia River District of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church. Each session focuses on providing a specific, simple method for doing one aspect of the work of the pastor. Posts following the links below will explore that topic.

Session 1 – Orientation to Pastoral Work: PA.S.TO.R.  
Date: Tuesday, September 29, 7 pm, via Lifesize online digital conferencing
Methodology (1st hour): Getting Organized for Pastoral Work: Time Management, setting up your personal organization system.
Application (2nd hour): Pastoral Expectations. PASTOR and SHALOM Working Templates.

Session 2 – TO: Tasks and Organization
Date: Tuesday, October 20, 7 pm, via Lifesize online digital conferencing
Methodology: The Church as Organism and Organization; getting things done through other people.
Application: The Church as a Family of God, part 1. Church family systems, facilitating change.

Your District Office will also conduct a 2 hour training in completing Church Conference forms this fall. You will want to participate in this session.

Session 3 – S … R Preaching and Reading  
Date: Tuesday, November 10, 7 pm, via Lifesize online digital conferencing
Methodology: Monroe’s Mountain: A System for Exegesis and Sermon Preparation.
Application: Organizing for Worship – purpose, goals, including laity, get the details right.

Session 4 – PA Pastoral Care and Attention  
Date: Tuesday, December 1, 7 pm, via Lifesize online digital conferencing
Methodology: The Church as a Family of God, part 2. Soul mending and equipping the saints.
Application: Organizing for Healthy Communication. Building Community by “staying in touch.”

Session 5 – The Pastor’s Spiritual Life
Date: Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 7 pm, via Lifesize online digital conferencing
Methodology: A Menu of Practical Spiritual Disciplines
Application: Organizing for Long Term Spiritual Health

Session 6 – Wrap Up, Overview, Feedback.
Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 7 pm, via Lifesize online digital conferencing

WHO: United Methodist pastors, persons in the Certified Lay Minister program and laity supplying local churches within the Kaskaskia River District and the Embarras River District, plus other UMC pastors who would wish to participate.

WHAT: The class is for pastors who are new to pastoral work, and consists of the sort of orientation that one would receive “on the job” after finishing schooling. It is intended to be very practical and provide simple, specific methods which beginning pastors can utilize immediately to do their work and then improve upon that system to specifically meet their professional needs and preferences.

WHEN: Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. averaging every 3 weeks from September 29, 2020, to January 26, 2021.

WHERE: The class will meet using Life-size, the online digital conferencing software in common use within the Kaskaskia River District. (Pastors, a lot of interaction in the near future is going to happen online, and you need to get used to it.) This discussion will introduce concepts that we will work with for the following 3 weeks. It will be recorded for multiple viewings and in case illness prevents you from participating live.

Each of the concepts, as well as additional material, will also be published on blog posts at this website, including discussion questions. This page at ambidextrouschurch.com will provide you with links to the series of blog posts for each session.

Following the presentation of concepts, we will have three weeks to discuss and apply them to our professional work using the questions from the blog post. Our discussion will take place on a private Facebook page devoted to our group. I will make a post that will provide a link to the blog post (concepts) and then a question for discussion. You will reply to each Facebook post and have a conversation with each other in the comments. (Pastors, a lot of committee meetings, prayer meetings, and bible studies in the near future are going to happen online, and you need to get used to it.  Facebook is one easily accessible tool to have these discussions.)

Homework: Before the next class meets you will be expected to send an email to your district superintendent or this instructor explaining in detail the methods you have chosen to utilize to do the work related to the topic of this session. (Pastors, a great deal of communication with your superintendent and other pastors will happen utilizing email for the rest of your pastoral life, and you need to get used to it.)

If you do not have a laptop or desktop computer, or internet access, your local public library probably has one that you can use for the purposes of this class and for much of your pastoral work. Facebook can be accessed on a cell phone, if necessary. The church you are assigned to may have a computer for the pastor’s use and/or one can be easily purchased using accountable reimbursement professional expense funds. Please contact me if you would like advice on the purchase of a computer that will meet your needs as a pastor.

WHY: Let’s assume that you have left your family of origin and moved into a new home in a new community where you will now be living.  Let’s assume that you now need to prepare all of your own meals … but you have never spent any time whatsoever in the kitchen doing that.  Obviously, you are going to need some recipes or you will have a very, very difficult time adjusting to your new life, learning everything from scratch and by trial and error. And have to eat a lot of awful experiments that failed.

You can find a good recipe on the side of a box of macaroni and cheese which will allow you to prepare that food. After you do that multiple times, you won’t need to look at the directions. When you’re very comfortable preparing macaroni and cheese, you will probably want to do all sorts of creative things to jazz it up and do it your own special way rather than what the recipe says. Do that!

This class intends to be a very practical cookbook full of basic recipes for beginners to do the pastoral work. Furthermore, it’s not a specialized gourmet cookbook full of recipes that you’ve never eaten before or using ingredients that you’ve never heard of before.  It is intended to be a cookbook like the ones local churches produce that will be full of simple recipes that everyone likes and will help you to prepare “spiritual food” (do the pastoral work) in a way that will be familiar, comfortable, and helpful to your congregation.