Posted by: Philip Rushton | January 23, 2012

To Blog Or Not To Blog?

I’ve been evaluating the whole blogging gig lately. I started this blog when I was stranded in Canada and was unable to start my position at the church. Now that I have been here for a while, there are numerous other things that I need to attend to. I’ve been wondering whether this is a good use of my time on monday mornings.

However, I have come to the conclusion that I am not ready to give up the blog just yet. In fact, it is something that I think helps me hold on to my pastoral vocation.

Eugene Peterson starts his book Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, with this rather controversial quote. He says, “American pastors are abandoning their posts, left and right, and at an alarming rate. They are not leaving their churches and getting other jobs. Congregations still pay their salaries . . . But they are abandoning their posts, their calling.” Peterson goes on to explain that while the biblical model of pastoral ministry involves a devotion to scripture and prayer, much of contemporary ministry looks more like running a business. To be sure, good administration is a gift and it is something that pastors need to do. However, Peterson is concerned that pastors have, “metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches.” Our attention has been focused more on pleasing crowds by packaging religion into an easy to use and appealing product, when we should be focused on praying, studying and providing spiritual direction to church members.

I can see how administrative tasks can quickly crowd out some of these historical aspects of ministry. I’m often tempted to begin my day by checking up on e-mails, making to-do lists, and organizing events and meetings. These are not bad in and of themselves, but they become dangerous when they crowd out the harder work of discerning God’s voice and devoting time to scripture. Many of the ‘how to’ books on ministry these days speak very little about discernment and spiritual discipline. Instead, they offer short cuts and quick strategic ideas to develop programs.

One of the reasons why I continue to blog is that it forces me to slow down. It builds in a weekly accountability for me to think, read and write. This blog is really a collection of my reading notes and spiritual reflections. Blogging for me has become a discipline that has prevented administration from overtaking the other aspects of ministry. It is a reminder that pastoral work cannot come through short-cuts but must be supported by a long term commitment to reflection and growth.

Along with this, my hope is that the blog has been a venue to spark ideas and interests in the readers. I recently re-read an interesting study put out by Willow Creek called Reveal. This study surveys the spiritual health of their church members and seeks to understand how people actually grow spiritually. One of the key findings they discovered is it that as people move further along in their spiritual lives, growth often happens in a less structured way. The programs of the church become more peripheral to the spiritually mature and growth often takes place through personal study and discipline. The research does not discount the importance of worship events and small groups; rather, it suggests that those further along in their faith need the opportunity to supplement their spiritual growth through personal initiatives. So my vision for the blog is to add an extra element to our spiritual formation process. Perhaps these weekly reflections can spark ideas or resources to aid your personal spiritual journey.

Here’s to another year on the blogosphere!

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Responses

  1. […] even for pastors.  Phil Rushton thinks so, and I found myself nodding and mm-hmming along with his reflections on the matter […]

  2. It’s good to know I can count on your Monday blogs because I look forward to your perspectives. And today’s is top-notch. You are so accurate about the ‘harder work’ of discerning God’s voice and devoting time to scripture. Thanks for being willing to do the harder work, and may the rest go smoothly because of it.

  3. I so appreciate the personal touch and spiritual life-lessons your blogs contain. Your well written words cause me to ponder the Christian life on a much deeper level. I recognize the thought and study you have given these topics and appreciate and respect your dedication to sharing with others. Thank you for your willingness to invest the time writing; your blogs are a gift.

  4. Yes, keep at it, but maybe people at LCC don,t know about it or just need to hop aboard. I find your Monday Musings very insightful and always make me think. Yeah, yeah ,trying to think up something funny, at least by my standards, which are mighty low……………….Paz en Cristo……….

    • Hey Gil,

      Came across this funny photo today!

  5. Thanks for your kind words everyone!

  6. Thanks fort your words of wisdom, Phil. When I force my self to slow down and read and absorb your words, they make me think, and grow spiritually.

    Not trying to sway you into continuing this blog, but just thanking you for doing it.

    Al


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