…and Eugene Peterson is the best guide that I can think of. He has been helping pastors think theologically and prayerfully about their work, their vocations, for some time. This kind of reflection on the pastoral vocation cannot be overdone for those of us who are both called and paid to perform the work of ministry.
What Peterson does best is cut through the trappings of the professionalized ministry and get to the heart of the matter. Here is how he describes the work of the pastor in is book Under the Unpredictable Plant:
What pastors do, or are at least called to do, is really quite simple. We say the word God accurately, so that congregations of Christians can stay in touch with the basic realities of their existence, so they know what is going on. And we say the Name personally, alongside our parishioners in the actual circumstances of their lives, so they will recognize and respond to the God who is both on our side and at our side when it doesn’t seem like it and we don’t feel like it.