Jesus Creed

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Pastor’s Wisdom: Don Johnson

posted by xscot mcknight

This marks the end of our series from pastors. I have really enjoyed this series, I hope you have too, but I want to acknowledge their contributions publicly. Thanks. We probably won’t know who helpful this is. While we were in South Africa, two young pastors approached me to say how much these posts were helping them! Today, we finish with a friend, Don Johnson, who serves in (sorry to say) Santa Barbara CA.
If I started again, I would prepare the same way; seminary training focusing on the classics of Greek, Hebrew, Church History, Theology and Ethics. I would spend less time on counseling and psychology and more on worship and liturgics.
But if I began again in a church, I would systematically visit every home and family in the church during the first year. I would visit both the oldest and youngest members of the church and just ask to hear their stories. I would get to know other pastors as friends and not competitors. I would try to spend more time listening and less time impressing. I would promise the church only three nights out each week and hold the line, giving my family the evenings I allowed the church to rob. I would laugh more and play jokes on my congregation. I would take myself less seriously and take children much more seriously. I would make sure I knew the names and stories of the old people. I would lead more trips for members, not only for missions, but for learning and for fun. I would learn to ball-room dance with my wife so I could have more fun at weddings and parties
I would continue doing some things I do: reading Christian classics, reading straight through the Bible, avoid breakfast meetings at all costs, instead get to a quiet place early and alone. I would continue to read the New York Times and good secular thinkers



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Jim Martin

posted May 30, 2008 at 5:52 am


Don,
This is a wonderful post! I will be passing this on for others to read. A church with such a pastor will have the wonderful privilege of seeing a healthy, authentic, Godly human being.



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Anonymous

posted May 30, 2008 at 9:16 am


Pastor’s Wisdom « RC Gale

[...] Jump to Comments Scot McKnight’s series on asking pastors what they would do differently if they started fromthe beginning of their ministry again was amazing. Unfortunately this is the last one (here). The bold font is my emphasis. If I started again, I would prepare the same way; seminary training focusing on the classics of Greek, Hebrew, Church History, Theology and Ethics. I would spend less time on counseling and psychology and more on worship and liturgics. [...]



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Steve Menshenfriend

posted May 30, 2008 at 11:28 am


Don, I love it … jokes, dancing, and laughter. However, some of the best times I have with people is over breakfast. I’ll be re-reading this one. Thanks again. Steve.



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Peggy

posted May 30, 2008 at 11:54 am


…doesn’t this speak to the need to have smaller congregations? Otherwise it would be impossible for the task of visiting every home in the church during the first year — with only three nights a week available! And it would have to be kept up by visiting in the home of each new member — which is very much supporting the paradigm of the pastor as the visitation committee of one!
I struggle with this … having been the “assimilation pastor” at a large church.
All the thoughts are so very valid. I just wonder whether there are any other folks who yearn for these activities to be common among all the members?
I realize we are in a time of changing paradigms, and I may be farther down that road than others.



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sheryl

posted May 30, 2008 at 12:21 pm


Peggy #4 is right – this would work well in a small congregation and probably not a larger one, which forces you to choose whom you visit, unless the Pastoral staff visits everyone. That would take away from your other points of limiting nights out for the church. We visited a large church and were visited by someone from the Pastoral staff, so maybe that’s a possible way of doing it.
Anyway, I still LOVE the idea of taking the first year to meet with EVERYONE, not just the power brokers of the congregation, where it is feasible. There is so much wisdom and wonderful advice in this post–especially playing jokes and laughing more. Moves everyone away from being so serious and enjoying life a bit more. It’s contagious. Thanks so much for sharing.



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Pre-Wire for Structured Media

posted August 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm


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Shari Lynne

posted October 9, 2014 at 4:29 pm


Pastor Don is my pastor and everything he has written in this column is true! He visits the young and the old….he seeks out anyone he sees standing alone after the service……he is ALWAYS available….in class if you fear that the question you are asking is dumb, he will point to you and say :what a great question!” before he answers you and any timidity you may have had just disappears! We came to his church from a broken church and found a healthy home church and an incredible pastor!



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