Patience Where God Puts Me

I was talking to a brother pastor in my circuit of congregations (a circuit is a geographical grouping of congregations) the other day. My complaint was that the congregation where I serve wasn’t taking ownership in Ministry. In other words, I wasn’t seeing action flowing from font, altar, and pulpit.

My brother-in-Office reminded me that these things take time. He’s served his parish over a decade. It’s taken that long for many things to bear fruit among the people he serves. He reminded me to have patience.

His words are wise. I am not a patient person. Patience does not come easy. I expect instant results so I may have instant gratification. I see how other congregations are doing so well in so many areas and wish mine would do the same alongside theirs. I can’t see that happening right now. The reason? I haven’t served here long enough yet. I’m still wet behind the ears at my current charge.

One of my seminary professors said that it takes at least five years for a pastor to get to know the congregation and vice versa. It takes another five years for the pastor to get to know the community. If my math is correct, that’s ten years. The pastor that stays put in a congregation for ten years is a rare bird these days. An average pastorate in my communion seems to be 3-7 years. That’s not long enough to achieve trust and stability.

Trust and stability are elastic things. They are matters of the Kingdom of the Left (temporal realm). But they have importance when it comes to the day-to-day operation of a congregation. I’ve toyed with the notion of letting my name stand for a Divine Call to another congregation in a year or so for the express reason of declining a Call to show my congregation that I want to stay put among them for the foreseeable future. But that’s manipulating the Holy Spirit for all the wrong reasons. Still, it would be a nice way to build trust.

So I pray all the more for patience where God puts me. I have some fantastic suggestions for my congregation. They are dreams right now. I pray they may soon become reality. Time and trust will be built when and where God pleases. I wish it would happen sooner than later!




One Response to “Patience Where God Puts Me”

  1. Good thoughts. I can certainly relate in not being the most patient man on earth. I’ve made some pretty dumb decision in the past due to my own impatience.

    One thing the Rule of St. Benedict points us to is stability. Perseverance. Patience. I need all of those things!


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