Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Can An Aspie Pastor Succeed?

As I become more knowledgable about Aspergers, I am realizing how different I am from neurotypicals. A lot of things that come naturally for others, are thing I've had to learn.

I am noticing more about how this affects me as a pastor. Being a pastor is a social activity, or so I've observed. I've noticed how some my colleagues are great at all the social aspects of ministry and can do quite well. They know how to engage others socially, in ways that I can't fathom.

Me? Well, I am good at certain "technical" things, worship planning, preaching. I was able to give a funeral for someone I was familiar with who had committed suicide because I was able to "stand back" emotionally. But when it comes to being social with people, I tend to be found lacking or so it seems, compared to others.

In the world we live in, those social skills matter. I remember a pastor who preached horrible sermons. This wasn't simply my viewpoint, others at the church this person was at would say the same thing. But he was also loved by the people because of his social skills. In some way, this person was cut some slack because he was viewed as a friend to so many in the congregation.

I can preach fairly well, but I am deficient in those "people skills." It's not that I'm unfriendly, it's that I don't know how to "slap people on the back" like other pastors. Hell, being in a line to after worship to greet people is hard work for me.

I know there are positives: as one friend said, my analytical approach to life can be of value. Of course, that means I have to learn how to "sell" that, something that is also hard for an aspie to do. Hard, but not impossible. Like every other social skill, it's something I will have to pick up cognitively.

Can an Aspie Pastor succeed? I guess we are about to find out.

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