December 7, 2017

What We Need Today

A dear friend recently celebrated 10 years of ordained ministry. As part of his reflection on the role of the priest today, he asked me what qualities I thought priests needed to have today.

I loved this exercise, and I think the qualities that came to mind are true for all Christians, not just those ordained.

So, here they are:

Character: We can’t know all the answers, even when people expect us to. So we must be self-aware enough to know what we don’t know, and humble enough to admit it.

Conviction: We actually have to believe in something, otherwise what is the point? We aren’t called to be nice people. We are called to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ. So we should believe it.

Clarity: We must see things that others do not see. We must look for opportunities others miss. We must know how to think strategically.

Compassion: It may be possible to lead a nation or a business without being compassionate, but people are the ministry to which God has called us. The world is looking for real love. We are starving for genuine affirmation. And we need friends like never before. We must pour our lives into people – loving them, serving them, and helping them develop to their full potential.

Charisma: Not the kind of charisma that probably just came to your mind. Flash-in-the-pan rock stars are a dime a dozen and are usually here today and gone tomorrow. I mean the kind of charisma that helps a person communicate in a clear and compelling way. Communication skills (and the ability to use new communication tools) are more essential than ever.

Creativity: We can’t just open up the doors and do what we’ve always done. We must be willing to try new things (and be willing to tinker with old things), because we are made in the image of a God that is constantly creating and making all things new. With that, we must be willing to fail, knowing that our entire faith is built on the idea that even death is not the end.

What qualities would you add to this list?