I’m a man of many hats these days. I’m an aspiring church planter, an occasional hospital chaplain, and someone who helps others get around town by driving for a couple of ridesharing companies. I guess you could say I’m a tri-vocational pastor.
What I thought I’d be doing for the rest of my life, suddenly has slightly changed. It has required some adapting on my part to the rapidly changing landscape of the local church and what it means to serve vocationally as a pastor. I’ve had to make some adjustments in my life and I’m in a season of learning what it means to lead differently. I’ve been stretched, done some heart and soul work, and hoping to reemerge in a way that still will be faithful to my call as a Christ follower and as a pastor. In many ways I’ve had to refocus, which has given me some new energy when it comes to my role as a pastor outside the walls of the church.
The day I graduated seminary I was ready to go. I was given my superman cape (aka my clergy robe), a traveling communion set, and I was ordained as a minister in my denomination. I had everything I needed and I was fully equipped. I knew how to exegete the scriptures, had way too many books and commentaries, and even had a job right out of seminary.
It’s been over 14 years since the seminary I attended, blessed me and sent me on my way. Vocationally, my call hasn’t changed much. What’s changed is that I don’t wear the robe, the communion set is somewhere in the garage, and I’ve practically given most of my books away about reformed worship, old dead white guys, and dusty preaching books. I’ve had to pivot myself in a way that has given me some hope that I’m still called by God to help lead and to be led when it comes to my vocation and that I still have something to give to the larger church.
One of my hats I’ve really come to give thanks for is my ridesharing hat. It’s allowed me to step out of my comfort zone some and has actually helped in sharpening my vision as a church planter. I’ve had some powerful divine moments ridesharing. I was thinking about the people I’ve met since I’ve started a few months ago. I think every church planter with aspirations of planting a church should consider being a ridesharing driver and I think every pastor inside a church should give it a try as a means for exegeting the neighborhoods they’ve been called to serve in.
I’ve met a fire fighter, exotic dancers, lawyers, a doctor, actresses, waiters, fast-food workers, students, teachers, housekeepers, honeymooners from Australia, college students from the Middle East, recent immigrants, folks who’ve had a little too much to drink, an ICU nurse from Australia, tourists from Sweden, Asian-American students attending film school, New Yorker’s relocating to Los Angeles, addicts, alcoholics, people celebrating late night birthdays, writers, have had conversations with business owners, people who’ve prayed for me, conversations about politics, theology, the role of a pastor in the church, whether or not pastors can drink beer, my work as an occasional hospital chaplain, the role of grief in a person’s life, people who’ve been hurt by the church because of their sexuality, musicians, a woman who received news she was cancer free on her way to see her doctor, kids taking their parents to the doctor, someone on his way to host his own art show that he was late to, most recently people on their way to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and people who’ve called for a car to give a loved one a ride, a friend a ride, and a the occasional person who simply had way too much to drink who needed a ride home.
To be continued…