What Does A Pastor Do? (Preschooler Edition)

Every Sunday, I stand in front of my congregation and preach the Gospel. I have overcome any fear of speaking in public that I may have once had. I have spoken to very large groups and very small groups. I have spoken to people I know and respect, and I have spoken to absolute strangers. Very little unnerves me. But this morning, I got a request that made me shake in my boots.

On the way to school daughter asked me to tell her preschool class about my job. <shiver>

Doesn't seem like a big deal to you? Here are the factors to think about.

The attention span and comprehension of 5 year olds. A mix of backgrounds - some may be religious, but statistically most would not be. The concept of "God" may be a meaningless word to them. A desire to be respectful of teachers and parents who may come from different faith backgrounds - I am a guest, after all. And then, the thought that a child may feel left out or excluded or different by their families religious practices (or lack thereof) - and the last thing you want to do is make a 5 year old feel bad; it sure isn't their fault!

So in I went, and here is what I said.

Because I was wearing clericals (a shock, I know) I talked some about uniforms, and how this is my uniform so that people who need a pastor can find one. Then I moved on to what I do.

I explained the job of a pastor as consisting of three primary things.

  1. As a a pastor, I get to tell people about and teach about what I believe is the most important and exciting thing in the world. Every day, I get to share the things that make me happier than anything else in the world. What makes you happy?
  2. As a pastor, I get to spend time with people when life is hard and help them to feel better. So when people are sad, or hurt, or sick, or upset they ask me to come be with them and help them feel better. Has anyone ever helped you to feel better? 
  3. As a pastor, I get to spend time with people during the happiest times of their lives and help them to celebrate. So, when I baby is born, and at weddings, and at birthdays - all of the best and happiest times of life - pastors get to help people to celebrate. What have been some of the times you have had fun celebrating?
Preaching. Comforting. Celebrating.

So, ok, there is more to pastoring than that. But it's not a bad summary for a preschool audience. In fact, it's not a bad summary of the Christian life of discipleship. 

Proclaim - Comfort - Celebrate. Repeat as needed.