Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Hired Hand, a.k.a "Pastor"

It's difficult to separate our cultural understanding from our biblical understanding. The two often overlap without notice. This is the case with the role of the Pastor in modernized countries. The pastor has become a hired hand, the "Minister", which means "the one who is paid to do the ministering/ministry". Therefore, if there is ministry to be done, then it is the Pastor who carries it out.

Have we unwittingly robbed the church of the privilege of being the Church, where everyone has a role and responsibility and is a needed part of the body? Our idea of success is no longer a community that follows the way of Christ, but rather how entertaining the speaker is on Sunday morning and how many people he/she is drawing. The main concern becomes whether or not we are "being fed" rather than whether or not we are dying to ourselves and living in the way of Christ both individually and as a community.

No matter how many heads nod when the Scripture is clearly and relevantly presented, it is Monday through Saturday that determine our true beliefs.

How is the average attender doing in discipling the children in the church, caring for the needs of the widow, visiting the sick, participating in social justice ministries, encouraging the discouraged, forgiving the offenses of others, speaking life instead of death?

Why is it when you Google "church" you get a picture of a building, and when you Google "congregation" you get a picture of a bunch of people sitting around doing nothing? If Google was around in 1st century AD, how might these pictures look different?

Has our practice and understanding of the pastoral role taken away from our understanding of the Church as a priesthood of believers? Does having a pastor actually hinder our spiritual growth rather than encourage it?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Uninspired


Waiting for inspiration to take hold again...

Here's a good quote:

"It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech."
-Mark Twain

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Power-lessness of Influence

Within a church, leadership works differently. This is a non-profit organization maintained by volunteers. The only one with real pressure upon them is the pastor, if he/she is paid. Nobody likes having to find a new job without due notice.

It's interesting to see people working according to old power schemes. They've come from military or work backgrounds where there is a clear chain of command that is unquestioned. Remember, everything in the church is questionable and will be questioned by many, from many different angles.

People get frustrated when they hold some office in the church and realize they aren't granted control based on the title they hold. In the church, if we are to serve, we must take on the attitude of a servant. This is the example of Christ, and it is the only attitude that works in this type of setting.

Leadership in the church, and true leadership in the world, depends on influence. It is the ability to inspire, connect, dream in such a way that others can imagine it, and live in such a way that they feel you have their best interest at heart. This is the way and type of power Christ displayed. He declares, "Whoever will, let them come."

Leadership based on coercion is built on threats and therefore perverse, oppressive, and useful for military regimes. Leadership based on the power of influence is motivating and freeing. No doubt, both can be misused.

i leave you with this maxim: "If while you are leading, you look to discover no one behind you...you are merely taking a walk."