Ed was emphasizing to his church leadership why having a pastor’s residence next door to the church is not necessarily the best thing. They had always enjoyed the luxury of having the minister on the premises, they told him and would hate to relinquish that blessing. That’s why, when the hurricane destroyed the pastorium and the congregation had to make a decision about rebuilding, Pastor Ed thought this would be a good time to move the pastor’s residence.
“Let me ask you something,” Ed said to the five men and women seated around the table. “How many of you have ever taken a vacation and stayed at home?” Every hand went up.
“Well,” he said, “that’s something a pastor can never do. If he’s at home, and everyone in town can see he’s at home, he’s always on call.”
The good folk seated at the table admitted they had never thought of that before.
“And it’s not just the church,” Ed emphasized. “The community comes knocking, too. And I love that — don’t get me wrong. It’s just that sometimes it gets wearisome.”
As his director of missions, I complimented Pastor Ed on explaining that to them. When lay leaders understand the uniqueness of the pastor’s burdens, often they can be counted on to do the right thing and help to ease them.
As a result of hearing Pastor Ed’s account of this meeting, I began to reflect on other things a pastor cannot do as a result of his unique position in the church and community, things “normal” people do without a thought.