A Practical Guide for Priests and Pastors, Part 5
“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand or to the left…” Proverbs 4:26-27
A. In your pastoral ministry, practice consistency. You must treat everyone the same.
“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes... have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil motives? But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as a transgressor.” James 2:1-4; 9
B. Be consistent in your programs.
C. Be consistent in your worship times and music.
D Schedule all office work, visitations, et cetera. Be predictable. Be dependable. Be regular. God created order and predictability in the universe. The sun always comes up in the east. Spring always follows winter. A dependable regular structure produces dependable, stable people.
E. There is a danger of changing patterns, of removing the familiar. For a plant to grow it must be allowed to put down roots. It will not grow if it is re-potted every day. Our people will not mature and grow spiritually if we keep changing things. They face enough changes in their daily lives; they need the safety of a familiar harbor in which to seek refuge from the storms of life.
TREATMENT OF OTHERS
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
A. The pastor must be cautious, attentive and observant of his parishioners, keeping always in mind that people are watching him. Your treatment of your people must be the same. There can be no favoritism. You cannot give the light to one and not to another.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
B. Never favor one person over the other. You may find a parishioner to whom you grow close, and with whom you trust and share your ministry concerns. If such a relationship develops, it should not be made obvious. obvious. Especially on Sundays at the Coffee Hour, be careful not to be always sitting with the same people.
“I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” 1 Timothy 5:21
C. Be careful! Do not allow yourself to become too attached to one family or group, regardless of how hard they work or how much they contribute. Even your friends have short memories and may desert you.
D. The poor and the rich must be treated exactly alike. Your treatment of the people should not be based on the size or wealth of the family. We must serve and treat all nationalities the same.
“There is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:11
E. When giving financial assistance or assigning tasks, be careful not to overlook the needs and concerns of different individuals and groups within the parish.
“A complaint arose on the part of the non-Palestinian Jewish Christians against the Palestinian Jewish Christians because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.”
May God grant you many years of fruitful ministry.
A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR PRIESTS & PASTORS by Fr. Constantine Nasr may be ordered from St. Ignatius Book Store 405-755-7804 or firstname.lastname@example.org The price is $15 plus $1.50 s/h.