I have a spiritual formation group at Wesley Seminary on Thursday mornings. It's sheer delight to hear pastors share the thrills and challenges of their ministries every week. Yesterday morning, I sat there thinking about how the skilled pastor is a little like a skilled warrior.
But I wasn't thinking of it in the sense of many a bully pastor, the unskilled guy that gets up behind a pulpit and tells everyone what's wrong with them. That's not a ninja pastor. That's a lumbering elephant. I'm convinced that some people are attracted to ministry because they want to be able to tell everyone off.
No, the ninja pastor truly wants to be an agent for good in the world, an agent for change. "You got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them." Being skilled means you know when to back off, when to be silent, when to move forward. You know how to let the weight of the assailant cause them to fall of their own weight without even having to fight them.
You know how to take a punch. The effective warrior is interested in the outcome of the war more than winning every battle or fighting every attacker in between. You are strong enough to keep moving forward without having to stop at everyone trying to kill you. Sometimes to reach checkmate, you sacrifice a bishop.
Yes, I thought to myself, a skilled pastor is a ninja warrior.