This month, we asked our bloggers what it’s like to be the youngest Presbyterian in the room. Here’s what they shared.
Pastors pay attention. It’s how we learn.
Imagine a room full of long-serving Presbyterian pastors. When I enter this room, I receive one of two responses. “You are so young; I thought you were in college.” Or, “Oh I remember when I was your age; let me tell you a story.”
Sadly, we use years of experience as a barometer for capability. Yes, I’m young (32 years old). But, my dad is also Presbyterian pastor. After years of watching him, I entered ministry knowing and having experienced the rhythms of church and what a pastor’s life looks like.
Before I had my first child I spent time watching people, particularly parents. I analyzed everything. How did they treat their children? How did they discipline them? And how did they speak to them? I was determining what kind of parent I wanted to be. I needed more than books, articles and YouTube clips. Those are helpful; but watching people interact and parent provides real-life data.
I do the same around pastors. I pay attention because I need guidance, colleagues and friends. I don’t need rules, superiors, and entrenched hierarchy. So I’m seeking guides to help me on the journey. Lord knows I’ll need guides. And I’m seeking mentors to coach me. Lord knows I have much to learn. And I’m seeking sisters and brothers who will let me be myself. Lord knows that ministry is lonely and we need the support of fellow ministers.
We can pay attention to ages, but I invite us to talk about something more substantive and Kingdom building. Pastors of all ages are paying attention because we are looking for sisters and brothers who want to converse, not lecture. Let the conversations ensue and may they help usher in the Kingdom of God.
BENJAMIN E.E. KANE serves as pastor of Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church in Tarboro, North Carolina, a.k.a. “the crossroads of western civilization.” His wife, daughter (and soon-to-be second child), extended family and friends keep him grounded by reminding him he’s loved, but isn’t quite as cool and funny as he thinks he is. He blogs at Rearing Kane and tweets at @revbkane13.