Moving from “Relevant Dude” to “Spiritual Father”
The title of the article grabbed my attention: “From Relevant Dude to Spiritual Father.” Keith Miller, one of my favorite writers, reflects on the difference between competence and relevance (what he calls Boomer values) and the desire of the Millennials (those young adults just entering the work force) for deeper relationships with their pastors. The coffee shop, not the committee meeting, is the key paradigm for ministry.
This new pastoral role, according to Miller,
depends on (1) spiritual maturity, born of prayer and experience; (2) an intimate knowledge of another person’s life and spiritual condition; and (3) an ability to speak the truth in love in a personal way: “Warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of the weak.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
And that makes this pastor happy. This is a ministry that depends less on being conversant in pop culture and more on the spiritual disciplines. This is a ministry that is more “spiritual father” and less “relevant dude.” This is the ministry model of the New Testament where Paul understood that maturity in the church wouldn’t happen without spiritual fathers and mothers:
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as our does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living . . . .
(1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:1)
1 Thessalonians is a celebration of maturity in the church. As I have been preparing messages and Growth Group lessons, God has given me a vision of growing maturity in our church, built on the Spirit’s gifts being released and on the ministry of spiritual fathering and mothering (it’s not gender specific!) in our congregation. That’s what makes this pastor excited.
Paul said it this way about his spiritual children in Thessalonica: “For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you?” (1 Thessalonians 3:8) That is my hope and prayer for our ACRC family this fall.
With you in the mission, Pastor Doug Fakkema, Anacortes CRC