Daniel SternSeattle, Washington, United States
I love both the consistent rhythms and the wide variety of my work as a pastor. It is great to be able to work with people at all stages of their lives with varying backgrounds, interests and needs. Coming together to make a difference through ministry is very rewarding.
I am currently the pastor at Broadview Community Church, a United Church of Christ denomination. I have a Master’s of Divinity and 28 years of experience in urban settings as a local church pastor for smaller churches with congregations of around a hundred. I have had long pastorates including 23 years in Chicago and 14 in Seattle. Over the years I have also served as an interim minister and on committees that do peer review and approve new candidates for ministry.
Here’s just a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):
• How to do quality care and counseling: the importance and power of showing up, visiting, doing high-quality memorial services and weddings.
• How to lead/facilitate worship, preaching, sacraments, prayer, music.
• How to lead small groups and classes; the importance of be interested in (and liking!) people.
• How to gain respect, withstand unfair barbs and take care of yourself.
• How to have the freedom to be (or not to be) involved beyond the immediately perceived needs of the congregation (i.e. refugee resettlement, peace and social justice work, prison chaplaincy, etc.).
Both my grandfathers were ministers of the Church of the Brethren, one of the historic “peace churches” like the Quakers and Mennonites. However, both grandfathers died before I had a chance to know them well. So it was especially moving to have an elderly relative, after hearing me preach, tell me how much I seemed in every way like my grandfather! Somehow, the ministerial calling got carried on through me to a whole new generation.
I had a varied career before becoming a pastor. I was a theater/musician performer in public schools teaching about conservation and recycling; a farm labor center director; a nursing care orderly; an apple orchardist and a cowboy. My life was interesting but merely a series of episodes. It had little ongoing narrative flow. Becoming a pastor brought all my little stories together with God’s wider, longer-lasting story. It felt right from the “get-go”.
The joy, rewards and satisfaction over the years have been many. My ordination was a turning point in my life and launched me into a career that would afford me the privilege to serve three wonderful congregations; lead retreats and teach; help young people become a part of the faith community and establish support and adult study groups. I love what I do and also have the freedom to be a part-time activist and artist/musician.