Step Out Of The 3-B Traffic!


My good friends Dave Booram and Beth McLaughlin Booram, who oversee the Sustainable Faith-Indy Retreat Center, wrote recently on Facebook this encouraging (and strong) word for pastors/leaders who are feeling the tension in their lives between “doing church as usual” or “following Jesus where He leads.” I see these words here as an encouragement to step out of the 3-B world of church management, where (B)uildings, (B)ucks, & (B)utts in the seats are the measuring sticks of success! Take these words to heart, my dear pastoral shepherds, and step out of the 3-B traffic!   MB

Awhile back I (Dave) was meeting with a pastor from out-of-town who was telling me about a conflict he was having with his board over a building project. As he described it, he was tense and worn out. I’ve known this man long enough to know this was not a priority that reflected either his sweet spot or his true calling. As I gave voice to how he seemed to have lost his way, I said “You don’t really give a shit about this new education wing, so stop acting like you do. I know you well enough to know that what you really care about is shepherding these people. So be about that, whether the board makes a good decision or a bad one. Start caring about what you really care about, and stop trying to act like you care about what doesn’t really matter to you and your calling.” I could tell the words hit their mark and there was freedom that began to seep into his wearied soul and the corners of his mouth.

This morning as I anticipated going to my own church, I thought about this again, and the pastors that are on staff and the challenges to care and shepherd their people. And I thought about what a good shepherd really does. And who they really are (or should be). So here’s my list, relevant to all of us whether we’re paid or unpaid to shepherd others. A good shepherd…

– teaches others to pray
– listens and asks helpful questions
– nourishes others
– offers presence and “withness”
– affirms and draws attention to the Spirit’s movement
– serves others
– welcomes and offers hospitality
– has a warm heart for God and a soft heart for the world and people
– is not the boss
– does not pose or pretend to be other than what they are
– is remarkable in their unremarkableness
– is a deep well of wisdom and insight as to how things work
– is loyal to what matters, and indifferent to what doesn’t
– can experience and move freely between joy and sorrow, hope and darkness
– will advocate for the weak, broken and abused
– is a non-anxious presence
– brings peace

Thanks Dave & Beth. I encourage you, my dear reader, to become a regular subscriber (it’s free!) to for more encouragement. There are many out there to stand with you as you transition from being a 3-B pastor/leader to becoming a contemplative activist!

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