Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pastoral Boundaries

I resist having to be a pastor to someone who's not a part of my congregation. I'm realizing that lately. Now, this does not mean that someone needs to be a member - if they've shown their face through the door, ever, or if there's a chance they might ever do so, I'm happy to be pastoral with them.

But if it's completely clear that they only want something from me (like a financial handout or my presence at their group's event), my pastoral hat just doesn't want to fit. And, in the current situation I'm in, if they are a staff member of my church but go elsewhere, I really don't think I should have to act like their pastor. I think I am then their boss only. But somehow when I act like their boss only, perhaps because they see me being all pastorly to the church folk, somehow that ain't enough. I don't think I should have to call to check in on sick staff people unless they're having surgery or something serious going on.

I guess I feel like my obligation to them ends at the door, where it doesn't with people who are a part of my church. I think if I care that way about the whole world I will pull myself to pieces. Ugh, that sounds so harsh - I do care about them, and everybody in the whole world, and feel obligated to them as my sisters and brothers, but not as their pastor. Maybe that says it better?

I don't know how the old-time pastors did it, or small-town pastors still do it today, where everywhere they go they are "the pastor." I need to go away from all that and be ME, a mom and wife, that can just think about my family for a few minutes and belch if I want to. My little zoo is enough to keep track of without having to rescue every creature in the land. Anyway, that's my rambling thoughts about boundaries and sanity for today.

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