Switching... or blending
Pastoral Musing - The calling of the pastor requires a capacity for what appears to be switching: people orientation/task orientation... left brain/right brain... long range/crisis... eternal destiny/practical problems.
Today I went from a meeting to discuss financial matters on our facilities expansion project to a bedside time with a family whose patriarch was passing away. The rest of the day included wedding schedules, correspondance, some work on Sunday's sermon, some prayer time for the opening of Advent, and a lunch meeting with a person from our congregation.
I've come to the conclusion that switching is the wrong word. It's wrong because it implies that we are either one or the other at any given moment - it's people or task... eternal perspective or temporal etc. That's a bad way to look at ministry. Such bifurcation leads to caricatures that are destructive to every endeavor, as we're always being one thing at the expense of everything else. Instead, it seems that we need to be bringing the spirit, the eternal, the left brain, into all of our objective endeavors. And we also need linear thinking, long range perspective, and practical considerations to our bedside pastoral matters.
Blending is a better word than switching, and I'm not sure blending can be taught. I think its more a matter of needing to live with a conscious sense of dependency on the Holy Spirit for a moment by moment provision of wisdom, words, strength, and conviction. One doesn't know, in pastoral ministry, what a day will bring. But one does know that the Holy Spirit is avaiable to provide whatever is needed for that to which we're called.