Spiritual Director not a Cruise Director

For a successful cruise aboard a ship, one of the most important people is the Cruise Director.  This person is responsible for all of the entertainment, activities, guest parties, lectures and shows.  The Cruise Director’s main responsibility is to assure each passenger has a great time on the cruise.  This means the Cruise Director needs to schedule different activities to meet different wants and desires.  For some it is a cocktail party, for others it might be “Coffee on the Lido Deck” (thanks, Love Boat). love boat

Overall, the Cruise Director tries to make everybody happy so they will tell their friends and more people will take cruises.

Believe it or not, a pastor is not a Cruise Director.  A pastor is not in a church to make everyone happy.  A pastor is not to develop each and every fun event, lecture series and party so that those on the cruise those in the church are “satisfied”.

What then should a pastor be you may ask?  A pastor is a Spiritual Director.

A Spiritual Director helps us see God in all aspects of our lives.  A Spiritual Director assists people in the quest to grow closer with God.  A Spiritual Director helps people assess their lives while guiding them through Christian formation.

And this is so much more important than satisfying people’s desires.  A Spiritual Director guides people to satisfy the “God-shaped hole” residing in each of us precisely because a Spiritual Director points us towards God.

Why are pastors running around so busy yet the church is in decline?  Because the expectation is that we satisfy customers rather than perform soul-work.  It is an unfortunate result of a capitalistic, market based, competitive church environment; “Come to my church where we offer the best coffee.”  “No, come to my church where we do sermon series on how to exercise and eat better.”  “No, my church offers great programming.”  And the list goes on.  Yet the church is in decline because we are missing the point.  It is about God, not us. But to truly structure the church around God, we need to seek God.  To seek God, sometimes we need to be pointed in the right direction.  For that, we need Spiritual Directors.

My desire is to do more Spiritual Direction than Cruise Direction.  And for some people, that is really what they want – to discover God’s will, to become more Christ-like, to satisfy their hungry heart.  And that is a worthy call.

If you seek God in your lives, if you are searching for more than a Cruise Director, feel free to contact me.

A New Pentecost

I’m excited.  Today is Pentecost Sunday, the one day a year mainline denomination pastors get to preach on the Holy Spirit.

Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little, but often in our world, the Holy Spirit is the “red-headed stepchild” of the Trinity.  We invoke the Spirit and we mention the Spirit, but we don’t always embrace the Spirit.  We even diminish the power of Pentecost by relegating it to a children’s sermon of the church’s birthday.

So where is the power in that?

The Pentecost experience was not a one and done thing.  Read through the book of Acts and see how the early church depended upon the Holy Spirit.  And nowhere does Jesus ever say “I am going away but I will send an advocate, the Spirit of Truth, who will teach you all things, give you power from on high, then disappear forever, but you can mention Him on one Sunday a year.”  pentecost 2

Truthfully, the church needs a new Pentecost experience.  We need to embrace the Holy Spirit.  We need to ask the Triune God to guide us daily and listen as the Spirit speaks.  When we pray it should be in the Spirit (which does not necessarily mean in tongues, rather fully expecting God’s Spirit to pray with us and do things).  And we need to know that the Holy Spirit is with us.

Even if it isn’t Pentecost Sunday.