Mihaly Csikszentmihaly said that:
- When someone has skills or talents that are overkill for what is being asked of them, they get bored.
- When what is being asked of them is not achievable through the use of their skills and talents, they get anxious.
Pastors suffer from both conditions.
Those who have been called to serve in the particular role of pastor are a unique breed of cat (Aren’t we all? But go with me here…). We say that these are the people who have been identified as being especially gifted at nurturing and educating us into the larger narrative that God is writing in history. This is a powerful and awesome reality, and, out of the full Body of Christ, we have asked particular ones of us to devote their lives to helping us see it.
This is what most pastors have signed up for. Willingly. Excitedly. Pastors are artists of the highest order, and artists will give up almost anything to make art.
When a congregation has no interest in exploration or wonder or doubt or innovation or… The pastor is going to get bored, and will struggle with whether she wants to be in ministry in that place. Or at all.
When a congregational board insists that the pastor focus all his time and energy in marketing and recruitment for the sake of the bottom line…. Sorry, “evangelism”… The pastor will get anxious, and will struggle with whether he has actually been called to ministry in the first place. He might burn out, quit, and work at a menial uninspiring job. What a sad place for an artist to be.
What we ought to do with our pastors is help them find the sweet spot of their skills/talents where they are making the art they’ve been called to make and are stretched to make it better. I’ll bang this drum over and over again: Pastors are not called to be managers and administrators. That is an entirely different skill-set.
Pastors are artists. Do you want a good pastor? Then let her make her art, and she will blow your world wide open. If you don’t, then you’re squandering a precious gift that God has given you.