Today is part two of a series of six blog posts where I am sharing my Theology of Pastoral Ministry. (You can read yesterday's post here.) By sharing this theology of pastoral ministry I hope to encourage you to develop your own theology of pastoral ministry (or philisophy of work).
Pastoral ministry is about serving others, which means it is important that I understand that people want to feel valued and worthy of respect.
While reading the book More Ready Than You Realize in an effort to learn more about evangelism, I learned how this great principle positively influences the people we serve. In the book a young woman shares her reflections on a two year evangelism conversation she had with the author, Brian McLaren, via email. While sharing her story and experience of moving from an unbeliever to a Christian, she writes, “I don’t remember much of what he [Brian McLaren] wrote [in his emails to her]. What I do remember is something far deeper and more important: that there was someone who was really listening to me and who was responding to me, not in a formula or in quick clichés, but sincerely and thoughtfully.”
That statement from this young woman gives us great insight into what people are looking for when they are being shepherded by a “pastor.” People are looking for someone to be real with them and show a sincere interest in them.
The people I serve at work probably do not want to feel that I am trying to evangelize them so I can add another Christian to my “convert list.” They do not want to feel they are one of many people whom I have questioned about their faith and tried to lead to Christ. They do not want to hear me give a bunch of well rehearsed questions and answers to their struggles with faith. They are looking for me to be sincerely interested in them, to show them value for who they already are, and to walk and talk with them as their faith evolves.
Question: How do you understand the people you work with and serve?
 Jennifer McLaughlin, interview by author, Norfork, CA, November 12, 2011.