Today I wish to direct your attention to a post by Morgan Guyton. Guyton is a Methodist campus minister in New Orleans, Louisiana, and he blogs at Mercy Not Sacrifice.
In this post Guyton speaks of the dual existence he leads as a college minister: On the one hand, being a pastor to those students who have chosen to have him as their pastor, while on the other hand dealing with those students where he is “auditioning” to be their pastor:
…It’s a world not dissimilar from the one inside the Hillary Clinton campaign revealed in those email leaks where everything is meticulously calculated. It’s a world at the mercy of the mysterious human psychological forces called momentum and traction and buzz. It’s a world where I’m supposed to be perfectly hip and on-point at all times. Where I’m supposed to be lighthearted and not have any actual emotions other than intuitively mirroring back whatever vibe is in the room. Where I’m supposed to exude the indifferent, playful confidence our culture calls cool that innately attracts people to me so that I never have to pursue anyone. Where I’m supposed to be endlessly available and not at all bothered when nobody shows up.
In the world where God happens, I’m having a great ministry with a small group of people. Among the students with whom I’ve developed spiritual intimacy, my heart gushes with love and joy. I’ve watched several students who had been exiled from the church because of their queer identity blossom and discover their spiritual gifts. I’m able to relax and be myself. I don’t feel like it’s my responsibility to manage every conversation that we have, because silence doesn’t feel like it’s my fault.
But in the world where I’m auditioning to be your pastor, I’m failing miserably. Sometimes you’ve given me some pretty obvious hints that you want me to go away. More often you’re sending me legitimately mixed signals. Sometimes you don’t respond to several messages inviting you to events, but then when I ask you how you’re doing, you answer without any annoyance or hesitation. I suppose what ruined me vocationally is that I was a union organizer before I was a pastor. And union organizers are trained to keep calling and leaving messages until you pick up the phone and say don’t ever call me again.