Is it ok to call my Pastor “Pas”?

Tagalog

Have you seen the post making rounds on FB? It says,

“Don’t call your pastor “Pas.” 1. It’s Unbiblical and 2. It’s Unprofessional.”

Really?

Pastor is a socially and culturally constructed word that means something different today than it did in the Bible times. In no place in the Bible are we commanded to call someone a “pastor.” In no place in the Bible in the role of pastor a professional role. (And while we’re at it let’s get rid of the notion that “the pastor is the highest calling.”)

Grammatically, “Pas” is a diminutive that is a term of endearment. It is actually more meaningful than the term “Pastor” (when used as a title). It implies a close relationship between the person and the pastor, a relationship where a spiritual leader has the ability to speak into the life of the parishioner. 

Calling is much more complex than “some are pastors and the rest are not.” The Bible tells us that all walks of life, all activities, and all people are able to minister to the glory of God. 

So if you are a pastor and someone calls you “Pas” accept it as the sign of love that it is — and be sure to love that person back!

Ok ba kung tawagang ko ang Pastor ko ng “Pas”?

Nakita mo na ba ang nashare na FB post ng ganito?

“Don’t call your pastor “Pas.” 1. It’s Unbiblical and 2. It’s Unprofessional.”

Talaga ba? 

1. Wala kang makitang talata sa Bible kung saan may utos na dapat tawagan nating mga pastor na “pastor.”

2. Wala ka ring makitang talata sa Bible kung saan may sinabi na ang mga pastor ay “professional.” 

Saan kaya galing ang mga ideya nito? Sa tingin ko ito’y nagmula sa kasabihang “The pastor is the highest calling.” Ang problema ay wala din ito sa Bibliya. Sa totoo lang, malalim ang konsepto ng pag-tawag o “calling” sa Bibliya. Ayon sa Bibliya, mahalaga sa paniningin ng Diyos ang lahat ng uri ng trabaho, lahat ng bahagi ng buhay, at lahat ng tao. Lahat ito’y pwedeng gamitin sa papupuri sa Panginoon. 

Bukod dito, ang paggamit ng salitang “Pas” ay isang term ng pagmamahal na ginagamit ito upang ipakita na may pagmamamahal ang isang tao sa kanyang espiritwal na lider. 

Kaya’t kung ikaw ay pastor at may tumawag sa iyo na “Pas” tanggapin mo na lang ito bilang tanda ng pag-ibig nila sa yo – at siguraduhing mong mahalin ang taong iyon!

Image by Ben White on Unsplash.

Is the solitary nature of pastoral ministry necessary?

As pastors we need to be self motivated. After all there is no one who is looking over our shoulders, is there? There is no bundy clock to keep track of our hours. There is no one instructing us on the things we should teach or preach about (unless it’s the book of Revelation). There is no one checking in on us making sure that everything is ok.

Sometimes pastoral ministry seems a rather solitary existence, where we are expected to do the majority of a church’s ministry, where we are expected to haver everything figured out, where we are expected to be strong in the middle of a hard world.

But together with this expectation of doing the ministry, it often also feels as if there are many people looking over our shoulders: 

  • People want to talk to the pastor when the call the church. 
  • People want the pastor to visit them. 
  • People want the pastor’s preaching to be good. 
  • People want their cars/motorcycles/houses/jeepneys/businesses/atbp to be blessed. 
  • People want you to attend their birthday parties. 
  • People want you to be available at any time, day or night.

Apart from this we need to make sure our families are well taken care of. 

It’s impossible really. No one can do all of this and survive. There are so many voices vying for our attention as pastors that it takes skill and ability to navigate all of this. 

One of the problems is the popular idea of the solitary pastor leading his flock closer to Jesus. Fortunately this idea has been challenged of late. Hal Puttick illustrated it somewhat like this, 

“Pastoring is like solo paddling. We train pastors to paddle their own canoe. We then load them up with a huge amount of cargo and expect them to be able to paddle it to the destination. From time to time they may get close to other pastors who are also paddling alone but what ends up happening is that one paddler tries to transfer some of his load to another paddler (who is already overloaded themself). What we need to do is to develop leadership teams.”

Hal Puttick

In the theological world, people like Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost and their various co-authors have been advocating for a more APEST-type ministry model for several years. APEST comes from Ephesians 4:11 that speaks of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers. I have seen a couple of restatements of the APEST idea that help us better understand what Ephesians 4 is saying. 

There is this tweet from @lukejohnson2191 that restates the 5-fold ministries as things each person would say:

Then there is the restatement from Frost & Hirsch themselves that restates the 5-fold ministries using terms that may have less theological baggage: 

But this APEST idea is not an excuse to just sit back and let things happen. Rather it is a call to both work hard at what your speciality is and to develop at team of people who can work together to meet the needs of the church as a whole.

But what if you are solo paddling? What can you do?

1. Make decisions on what you will prioritise and what you won’t. Not everyone will be happy with you but you might survive the journey. 

2. Help train others to join you in your canoe. After all, if we want things to change we need to start changing them.

3. Keep working hard. Be self motivated. Don’t forget your calling to serve God in whatever circumstances.

Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.

What issues confront me as I seek to pastor my online community (that sometimes may be a mob) even when I am also a part of the mob?

Engaging society is sometimes like pouring coffee into a series of cups stacked on top of each other. Even though the coffee will sometimes spill over onto the floor, some of it will make it to its intended place. How can I, as a pastor, help make sure that the “coffee” ends up in the right place? How can I keep the from spilling the coffee?

I have written about how my friend Dwayne Harms helped shape my belief that I am the pastor of more than my church; I am also the pastor of my community. That has shaped my engagement on the internet as well. My internet experience pre-dates social media! In the days before Web 2.0 I enjoyed engaging others on email lists. But the downside of all of that fun has been that for years I have struggled to find balance on how to engage on the internet.

Now at this point I do need to give a shout out to my mother who exemplifies what it means to be a justice warrior. She has never shied away from personally intervening in situations that are unjust. She is a good model! I get my sense of justice and injustice from her.

Carey Nieuwhof’s latest post on “How to Pastor a Mob” gives some good advice. I should point out that the “mob” Nieuwhof is referring to is primarily the vast, unknown world of the internet — the world that focusses on hot topics and the latest crazes and proceeds largely like a bull in a china shop. Of course sometimes the world of the mob collides with the worlds that I live in. This is what makes things more difficult.

One thing I have done is to unfollow (or unfriend) when reading posts that consistently cause stress. That has made my online experience more enjoyable. I guess my fear is that I may become someone who others want to unfollow/unfriend! How do I avoid that?

Here are a couple of points Carey makes that I found helpful:

“So what do you? How do you respond? The line I’ve tried to follow, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, is to be what I hope to see. In other words, if you hope to see people behaving reasonably, be reasonable.”

This, of course, is easier said than done! Sometimes I don’t want to be reasonable. Sometimes I don’t want to be calm, cool, and collected. But I will tell you one thing, my day goes better when I do respond in a reasonable way.

So how to do it? I sometimes write down my desired reply and read it over before carefully deleting it. I then try to write a more reasonable response. Often it takes prayer and even a day’s thought before the proper response comes to mind.

Of course, those of you who know me and who may follow me on social media know that my response is unfortunately not always this measured.

“There are also times I’ve tried to win over irate people online. I find I can’t. I can usually diffuse a situation in real life. On the internet? Almost a 0% success rate. So I no longer try. I’ve also tried to discuss things online with people who have extreme and public views on subjects. Trying to change their minds is like trying to move a 10 ton block of steel with your baby finger. Not only does the steel not budge, you now have a broken finger. The best way to react to angry, extreme views is to be what you hope to see.”

This is perhaps harder than the first issue I talked about because as a pastor one of my roles is what is called marturia, or truth telling. It is very hard for me to see some untruths without seeking to correct the errors that I see. There are two problems with this. First, it would be impossible for me to be able to correct all the errors out there, which means I need to learn which errors I am going to focus on. The second problem is even harder because it means that I need to recognise that the error may often be from my end.

And that’s the real issue isn’t it? Sometimes I am a part of the mob.

What issues confront you as you seek to pastor your community (that sometimes may be a mob)? In what areas are you also a part of the mob?

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.