Pastor’s Corner (10/17/19)
“For you I am a bishop, with you, I am a Christian”
This quote comes from St. Augustine’s sermon “On the Anniversary of His Ordination.” Last week, I had the privilege of attending a retreat for pastors in which one of our presenters told us this quote. Gary Neal Hansen, formerly professor of Church History at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, was one of our presenters at the Pastoral Leadership Revitalization Retreat I attended in Nebraska City. He is the author of a book entitled Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Teachers. He reminded us that although we are all called to be pastors, we are, first and foremost, Christians. During our retreat we were invited to ponder both facets of our lives. Like all Christians, we are invited to deepen and nurture our relationship with God. As pastors, we are called to facilitate the journey of faith for all those we shepherd.
This retreat was one part of the “Pastoral Leadership Revitalization” program (PLR), which is designed to increase pastoral resilience. It’s being funded by a generous Lily grant and is made available through the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation. Its focus is to provide guidance, support, and mentoring to help us learn and grow in our role as a pastor. The PLR program involves a three-year commitment. During that time, I will receive monthly mentoring from a mentoring coach and I’ll attend five retreats between now and the end of 2021. The first of those retreats was last week in Nebraska City at the Lied Lodge. In addition to participating in workshops and worship, I was assigned to and met my mentor/coach. The coaching I receive is valued at $1000 per year, and the retreat costs will be approximately $500 each. All of these costs will be covered by the grant, so this is a tremendous gift and opportunity for us all.
I am very excited to have been selected and invited to participate in the PLR, and I believe it will benefit not only me, but all of us. I look forward to sharing more information with you as this all unfolds, but for now, please keep me, all the pastors, mentors, and program staff in your prayers.
So as I close, let me borrow and adapt these powerful words from St. Augustine; “with you I am a Christian, for you I am a pastor.” May God bring renewal and revitalization to us all.
With love and joy,