The Be in Christ church has a long, valued and storied history. That storied history includes many who have served the church as pastors. This document, called The Pastoral Way, seeks to inspire pastors to pursue their calling and live it out in dignity and in congruence with that long tradition that continues to counsel us.
The Pastoral Way will continue to evolve with its leaders; the document aspires to present the pastoral principles required to effectively navigate the complexities of modern leadership in our post-Christian world.
It is understood that the role of the pastor, like the church itself, is becoming increasingly marginalized in Canada. The Pastoral Way challenges us to continue to uphold our calling, rebuild trust with our communities, add dignity and excellence to our vocation. The Be in Christ church believes that camaraderie among its leaders, especially those who are pastors, will be vital for longevity and spiritual victory. The stakes are high, our enemy is engaged, society has encultured skepticism towards the church, and fewer individuals are open to a calling to the ministry. We will be stronger if we move forward together.
The Pastoral Way describes these goals and values in three practices: loving, leading and learning. But, more importantly, The Pastoral Way describes who we want to be and with God’s help each of us will be the kind of person described in this document.
To God be the glory!
Each section provides a brief overview of the practice followed by implications for the practice.
PRACTICES OF LOVE
Our pastors will practice a life of living out Christ’s love through the power of the Holy Spirit as informed by the Scriptures and discerned through community.
- This means prioritizing our relationships as God instructs us.
- This means treating all people equitably. We will act in love in our attitudes and actions towards all persons regardless of race, social class, religious beliefs, or positions of power within our church and community.
- This means actively communicating love for all persons in our congregation regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, and belief through the natural forms God has gifted us with.
- This means we engage in being peacemakers. This requires that we practice reconciliation, forgiveness, and the cruciform life in all of our relationships, even with our enemies. This requires that we actively work for conflict resolution in our personal and professional lives.
SKILLS OF LEADERSHIP
Our pastors will practice effective leadership in their family, congregation and neighbourhoods.
- This means that we lead by example and we only ask of others what we are first attempting to do. We model personal care in our physical, emotional and spiritual lives including the spiritual disciplines that replenish our souls. We model generosity and integrity in our financial lives to avoid unnecessary criticism and possible temptation.
- This means we will develop and practice skilled leadership. This requires that we use all possible means to advance the kingdom of God through our ability to influence others. This requires that we vigilantly resist the temptation to control and, instead, train, empower, disciple, and release the Body of Christ in the use of their gifts in carrying out the mission of the Church.
- This means that we prioritize excellence in communicating the truth revealed to us in Jesus. We give adequate time to prepare thoughtful, prayerful, engaging, Christ-focused, and theologically sound communication in all presentation forms.
- This means that we model submission to those in leadership over us including other pastors, staff and denominational leadership.
- This means we comply, to the best of our ability, with the Be in Christ Handbook of Faith and Life.
HABITS OF LEARNING
Our pastors will never stop learning and growing our gifts, passions, and professional skills by practising curiosity, ongoing learning, and professional growth. The Kingdom of God demands our best and that we fully steward our gifts and creatively innovate.
- This means that we will prioritize our professional development by using the provided resources to attend conferences and apply those learning to extend the reach of our local congregation for God’s Kingdom.
- This means that we actively read from a variety of sources that foster our development as a person and professional.
- This means that we invite feedback, encourage constructive criticism, resist defensiveness and solicit professional coaching as needed to advance our abilities.
- This means that we participate in all denominational pastoral gatherings as they are designed for our professional development for the Be in Christ context.
- This means that we culture curiosity within the leadership of our congregations and are not threatened by new ideas.