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So when I’m in conversation with people they usually ask the typical question “what do you do for a living/work.”  I hate that question because I usually have to say I’m a pastor at a local church.  (although the blank stares are priceless.) I automatically fill boxed-in and judged as preconceived notions create a perception that I’m not fond of.

Anyhow, I guess I’m a pastor-but I don’t want to be boxed into that specific title. It seems so confined or stale. I consider myself more of a missionary (loaded word for sure) or spiritual activist that comes in the name of Jesus. One who goes into the city to learn it’s culture and create spiritual pathways that help bring the city back to God.

I think a great example of this is the Fermi Project. I just received an email from them and this is how hey communicate who they are:

“Greetings to everyone that has joined the Fermi Project – a collective of innovators, social entrepreneurs, church and society leaders recapturing the Church’s historic role in advancing the common good in culture.”

What is we staffed our churches more like that? Instead of being so program driven or title specific. I think this is more in-line with a movement mentality as opposed to building one single organization.




  1. bro – that is amazing! i feel the same way at times. pastor is narrow and loaded no doubt – i love the fermi project line….inspiring and defining at the same time…i need to be more like that.

  2. I’m with you on the what do you do for a living question. I don’t really have an answer that works either. I am a missionary, missions mobilizer, house church leader, student, father to one son and husband to one wife. Once, on a long overseas flight, I said I worked for a King. That led to an interesting conversation…

  3. Eric,
    I work for a King-That is awesome-I’m going to use that soon.


    Inspiring and defining-very good.

  4. this is something that plaques me on a daily basis. it goes a little like this:

    “what do you do?”
    im getting my masters
    “in what?”
    “oh… so you want to be a pastor?”

    how do i respond to this? how do i know if there pastor growing up wasnt a complete jack who ended up causing them a lot of pain. it is such a loaded word. i usually use this to explain how thats a loaded term and i unpack it a little bit which sometimes after i explain myself leads to a very honest talk about faith.

    sometimes people just walk away after saying “okay, preacher man.”

    part of me wants to say what youve said above and part of me wants to reclaim the title pastor. still wrestling with this.

  5. Hey there Chris, your heart for the flock and those outside the faith comes through clear in your writings. Vista is blessed to have you pastoring them.

    My main thought on the Fermi deal is that Fermi is not a ‘church’ and led by pastors. They are what they describe. Your non-profit might help with that. “I am a pastor, and I run a non-profit that fights poverty.” is a cool tagline to have.

    As for the term pastor being narrow, I think we (pastors) collectively are complicit in narrowing the term. We know the pastor is far more than a preacher, but if that is all our church and community see of us, then that is collectively our fault. I think it is an opportunity for guys like yourself and others to expand the communities understanding of a pastor. If we abandon it and leave it to televangelist, then people might be a little confused when reading through Ephesians 4.

    I read a quote and I don’t recall it’s origin, but it read, “Pastor your community (neighborhood, city) and the community will be your church.” As pastors continue to take ministry out to the community, the title pastor can be a title that signifies being a blessing.

    Lastly, if we applied the terms that Fermi used to church leaders, we might call them apostles. Have some fun and try that on the next guy who asks what you do for a living!

    Jacob Vanhorn

  6. my husband’s a fellow church planter/church launcher/community strategist…I think this here Femi is the best idea for the next staff search. i.e., “are you a church/society leader seeking to recapture the Church’s historic role in advancing the common good in culture, check yes or no”

    p.s. thanks for using that handy dandy brain of yours and sharing your unabashed thoughts with us here on the wonderful world call the interweb. it’s a good thing to aspire to change and even better to inspire it…here’s to you

  7. cathi,

    thx…i love the “blog” community…we get to learn from each other.

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