when is a minister not a minister

16 Jun

While in a near by hospital, and not there visiting congregation members, and dressed in every day clothes I popped my head into the hospital chapel for a few moments of quiet and prayer. As I walk in there are some folks already in, and they asked me if I was a minister or visitor. At this point my brain engaged quickly and worked out one of the folks was distressed, and that I could not provided any more than a few seconds of time. So answered that I was a visitor. In this I felt no guilt, and as I left I asked if they want to know where the chaplains office was – and then popped round to get the chaplain.

This got me thinking when is a minister not a minister. Ministry is not something for me that is a 9 to 5 job; and is more 24/7 vocation – even when I’m not “working” I still live as a Christian minister. I would say that there are times when being a minister mean not saying you are – as in the above example. However it doesn’t stop me being a minister, however at times for the needs of self/family/others it is important to keep a distinction between being in the role and being the role. I am a person who lives the vocation through the role; but I am also a person who has needs at times, and being able to take the collar off and walk along helps…



Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Ministry, Seen by the outside


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2 responses to “when is a minister not a minister

  1. SR

    June 17, 2012 at 04:21

    Hey James,

    I would think being a Minister is like being a parent. You are always a “parent.” The reason I thought of that is, it is like our Priest. They are on call 24/7. They never get to take “their collar off.” We view them as a father to us. (Not in the same way we view God as our Father) It is kind of like we are “his children” and he is responsible for our spiritual well being.

    I know the Priest at times go on retreats to “walk along.” They seem to be really “refreshed” when they get back.

    However being a Priest and a Minister has the difference of one has no wife, kids, etc..We are his “family.” A Minister on the other hand does have wife and kids. So I would think one would have to shift gears so to speak and “balance” it.

    I agree with you though, you are never “not” a Minister, once you have made choice for God.

    Just thinking outloud! God Bless, SR

    • James PB

      November 27, 2012 at 22:10


      I see both in this, several Ministers that I know are single. However they still need space to be them selves, and to be able to receive without having to give.


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