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).
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.