Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle, the president at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York, used a passage from Ephesians 4 as a launching pad to provide perspective to the hundreds in the audience (many of them pastors) at Palmer Seminary's 32nd annual Frank B. Mitchell Lectureship.
Ephesians 4:11 reads, "It was he who appointed some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers." The speaker focused on the role of pastors and teachers. He noted that the first goal of the pastor is to heal broken relationships and wounded lives. When this can't be done, the pastor can still guide people toward healing. When healing can't be found, it's the role of the pastor to sustain others through their struggles. Finally, said McMickle, the pastor must focus on reconciliation, which includes restoring people into a right relationship with God.
However, one of the speaker's most telling words of advice focused on the pastoral task of preparing and challenging others to minister. "The pastor should not be the only one doing the work of the church," he said. "And many times the pastor is not even the best person to minister to people." Rev. McMickle cited his first pastorate as an example. It was a Super Bowl Sunday in 1977. He'd just sat down to watch the big game when he got a call from an 80-year-old woman whose husband of 58 years had just passed away. At the ripe old age of 28, the young pastor McMickle had no clue what he would or could say to the elderly woman. But he had the sense to take along with him on this pastoral visit another woman who'd recently lost her husband of 60 years.
When the two arrived for the visit, the grieving woman virtually ignored the young pastor. She threw herself crying into the other woman's arms, and told the young Reverend to go into another room to watch his game so the two women could talk. Conclusion: Ministry is the job of everyone in the church, not just the pastor.
The morning lecture was followed by a noon luncheon featuring PTS M.Div. student Chantell L. Ellis as speaker. Rev. McMickle preached at the afternoon worship service.
In addition to serving as president, Dr. McMickle is Professor of Church Leadership and Director of the Program of Black Church Studies at Colgate Rochester Crozer.
An audio CD of the Mitchell Lecture, luncheon program, and afternoon worship service is available for $15. To place an order, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.