Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mixing Metaphors...Sheep Poop?

A wise pastor once told me that there's something all Shepherds deal with. Despite my strong desire to further use alliteration I will describe this something as sheep poop. In fact there's actually a pastoral ministry book I hope to read one day titled "They smell like sheep". I think both the author of this book and the wise pastor are speaking to the idea that effective pastors must be around, hang out with, and walk through things with their people, even the difficult and unpleasant things. I agree and hope this "sheep smell" is a mark of my ministry.
But as I wrestle further with my own thoughts on grace and leadership, I realize leading people is much more difficult than controlling people. Better by far... But much more difficult by far. Often in discussions with my boss and fellow staff members there is a resistance to change... a fear of failure ... a pre-tense of being careful ... and an intentional level of what might be seen as micro management. I know this comes from a burden of responsibility to protect the sheep. From what I'm not sure, but I understand the motivation and think it's admirable. However, I've come to find myself repeatedly saying in these discussions "I'm not sure how it's gonna work. It might be messy. But it ought to be good." or something to that effect.
"It might be messy"... this is the phrase that caused be to start mixing my metaphors. It might be messy like sheep sh...(uh)...poop. Should we as pastors "protect" our people by keeping them away from poop?
How would you do this with sheep? Know that I have thought through this thoroughly, but am a poor illustrator, so as much as I would like to share some of the pictures I've come up with I will stick to writing, and leave this to your imagination.
The only real way to prevent sheep from pooping is to stop feeding them. This is not a good option for a shepherd...or a pastor. In fact, it's amazing that the healthy by product of being fed becomes a blessing to the sheep later as it fertilizes the ground they are eating from! I hope my sheep poop small amounts from being fed just right. I hope the messes they make can be "cleaned up" in such as way that they are a blessing to others and even themselves. I hope I never wake up to a ministry with out poop.
Did I take this too far? Any Thoughts?

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