A commonplace among clergy is that seminary hardly prepares the pastor for all the difficulties and trials found in the crucible of parish life, but a good seminary education at least furnishes an ability to identify the hardships as they come.
The image of leadership being valorized in both the Church and the society in our time is the leader who can play the changes fortissimo. But is it not also important to be able to play softly?
In a response to Carey Nieuwhof, Fr. Jonathan elevates pastoral care and its challenges: "Sometimes good pastoral care feels like a punch in the face, both for pastors and for those committed to their care."
Fr. Jonathan Mitchican considers the four secrets of successful pastors.
What I want to suggest are a few aspects of episcopal ministry that I believe all of us might do well to consider. These are the kinds of priorities that we should hope for and expect in our bishops, which means that we need to provide them the means to undertake them. I present them in the form of seven theses.
As the Church enters the season for ordinations, I offer these reflections on a classic description of priestly ministry.
Parish priests find themselves thoroughly embedded in families in nearly everything they do. In my judgment, Bowen Family Systems Theory offers a way forward for parish clergy to negotiate the challenge of pastoral care and leadership.
Pastors come and pastors go. I am in the middle of that at this moment, an experience that many of us have had on either side of the pulpit.