Recently, I had an experience that brought up the subject of order. About a month ago, I joined an international prayer room on a social media platform. My impression was that it was a place of peace, where people could go to listen to and pray for each other. Then, the talkers started creeping in. What was a prayer room became a platform for people to teach whatever they wanted for as long as they wanted. Fortunately, order has since been restored.

The administrators of the prayer room learned the hard way that rules and boundaries were necessary to keep the room going in the direction they had intended. Otherwise others would take over. We all like the idea of being laid back and going with the flow. The problem is that without order, people have a tendency to go off in all kinds of directions. This is the point of 1 Corinthians 14:40, “…all things should be done decently and in order.” We all want to be heard. We all have opinions. What if we all expressed them however we wanted whenever we wanted? There would be chaos.

With orders of worship, our church services are able to include a variety of experiences that help others feel closer to God. We can worship by singing, praying, giving, and listening to the Word together. With an order of worship, you know what is coming next. It is in the context of order that we may experience the beauty found in worship services and sacraments. Worship services, weddings, baptisms, and funerals are ordered to provide a foundation on which beautiful, meaningful, and healing experiences may be built. So, while I am in favor of freedom of expression and others sharing their gifts, everything must be done “in order.” In this way, we respect each other more fully while giving honor to God in all that we do.

Wearing My Call

Recently, I started wearing a clergy shirt and collar during the work day and when I serve in ministry settings outside of the office. Since this is no longer common among Protestant pastors, I thought it might be helpful to explain my reasoning to those who might wonder. The first thing I want to point out is that this practice is Protestant in origin and started with a pastor named, Rev. Donald McLeod from Scotland in the late 1800s. Though we share the same first name and heritage, those are not the reasons I follow the practice. 

The primary reason is for quick and clear communication of my pastoral role. This is particularly helpful during hospital visitations and emergency situations. While the St. Luke people know who and what I am, others in the community and those who may be attending a funeral may not know until I go forward to speak. The secondary reason is because I have lost 60 pounds in the last couple of years and I do not want to buy a bunch of new clothes.

It is my hope that by wearing the clergy shirt and collar, I may clearly present a pastoral presence in dark and difficult places to those who are in need of pastoral care. I will stand with those who need reassurance of God’s love. I will stand in protest against social and racial injustice. I will stand for our Wesleyan traditions of holiness, love, and grace in Jesus’ name. Though I am flawed, I am God’s. So, I will stand up, I will stand out, and I will reach out in Jesus’ name.

Pastor Don

Power to Serve

Matthew 20:25-27 “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.26It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; Why do some people  need to be in charge?” It’s impossible to say what motivates them. Having had some experience in leadership, I can tell you my motivations. I wanted to make a difference, to be a better leader than some of those I had the displeasure of following in the past and to help others. I feel a little bad for saying that I like having authority to make decisions.”

Why do people seek leadership positions? What is it within us that makes some want to be in charge? Since I am in a leadership position, I can tell you my motivations. I want to make a difference, to be a better leader than some I had the displeasure of following in the past and to help others. There is great satisfaction in those times when I have made decisions that saved my company thousands of dollars, put needed policies in place, facilitated large projects and helped people do their jobs better. Yet, with the power to do all these things, I realize the need to use my power with humility and cheerfullness. I admit there are times when I allow the stress of large projects make me grumpy and short with people. When I come to my senses, I realize once again that I have been given authority to serve others. In fact, I am convinced that the higher up we go in position, the more responsible we are to serve in a greater capacity.

When those who are given authority are constantly negative, bossy, or tyranical, they fail. No matter how great our knowledge or talents, if we don’t lead with humility and kindness we fail to be effective leaders. So, when leadership opportunities come your way, don’t shy away from them. But, search your heart as to why you want the position. Do you just want to be in charge? Or, do you want to serve in a greater capacity. You will find much greater success if your motivation is to serve. The power is within each of us to create negativity around us, or to have a positive impact on our workplaces and the people around us.

Lead with humility, service and grace.