We Lutherans don’t go in for “personal testimonies” very much, but after the jump is a “testimony” from a pastor who discovered the doctrine of vocation and tells about the difference that has meant in his ministry.
From Tom Nelson, The Day I Confessed Pastoral Malpractice | TGC | The Gospel Coalition:
I didn’t mean to engage in pastoral malpractice; my pastoral paradigm had been theologically deficient. As a result I had been perpetuating a Sunday-to-Monday gap in my preaching, discipleship, and pastoral care. I blurted out what my heart had been holding back for way too long.
With a lump in my throat, I feebly grasped for the right words. I wanted to confess that because of my stunted theology, individual parishioners in my congregation were hindered in their spiritual formation and ill-equipped in their God-given vocations. Our collective mission had suffered as well. I had failed to see, from Genesis to Revelation, the high importance of vocation and the vital connections between faith, work, and economics. Somehow I had missed how the gospel speaks into every nook and cranny of life, connecting Sunday worship with Monday work in a seamless fabric of Holy Spirit-empowered faithfulness. . . .I began a quest to more fully grasp the kind of holistic faith taught from Genesis to Revelation. I also began to look more closely at Protestant Reformers like Luther and Calvin who not only recovered the authority of Scripture and the gospel of grace, but also connected Sunday to Monday with a rich theology of vocation. Reading the Reformers made me pay closer attention to the bookends of the biblical story—original creation and future consummation. I wrestled deeply with how the gospel tied the entire biblical narrative together. Through prayerful study of the Scriptures, I began to see human vocation as integral and not merely incidental to biblical revelation. I started to grasp that faith, work, and economics were woven together in the fabric of faithful gospel ministry.
This pastor says that now he doesn’t just do hospital calls. He also does workplace calls, stopping in at where his parishioners work. My pastor would be welcome if he wanted to do that, but is it really necessary? Do you agree with this take on the doctrine of vocation? Are there other aspects that need to be emphasized?
HT: Joanna Hensley