What if Pastors Were More Like Doctors?

The Gospel Coalition | 12/6/2019 | Zack Eswine
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Imagine a doctor who greets you and offers to come fix your kitchen sink. “No thanks,” you say. “I have a plumber for that. I’m here because I’m sick.”

Lexham. 312 pp.

Doctor - Shoes - Lunch - Thank - Shoes

Then the doctor offers to tie your shoes or make you lunch. “Thank you,” you say, “but I can manage the shoes, and I have others who can help me with lunch. I’m here to see you because I’m sick, and you are a doctor.”

As the doctor offers to paint a portrait of you, frustration wells up. What good is a doctor who avoids a doctor’s work?!

Book - Harold - Senkbeil—executive - Director - Doxology

In this book, Harold Senkbeil—executive director of Doxology: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care—uses a half-century of pastoral experience to help pastors better do their work. To begin, Senkbeil wants pastors to remember that “identity defines activity” (16). Who God calls us to be determines the kind of work God calls us to do. If a pastor is a coach, CEO, religious-activity director, conflict manager, or motivational speaker, his job description will morph accordingly. But what description of our work emerges when “carer of souls” forges our pastoral identity?

Disarming pastoral neglect, spiritual misdiagnosis, and soul malpractice form the passionate conviction of this book. “Two things are indispensable,” Senkbeil says, “for the job description of one who serves as a spiritual physician: being attentive and being intentional. Faithful diagnosis and cure include both” (99).

Pastoral - Attentiveness - Senkbeil - Diagnosis - Phase

Pastoral attentiveness requires listening. As Senkbeil writes, “In the diagnosis phase, the pastor needs to be all ears, paying full attention to the person in every dimension: physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually” (67). But such attentive listening requires patience. “In our hurry up world,” he explains, “patience is a short commodity. Especially among pastors” (4). Hasty diagnoses lead to prescribed treatments that damage those we’re meant to help....
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Gospel Coalition
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