Most of the time, I feel certain that Pastors are absolutely the first and most serious answer when anyone asks the question "What's wrong with the church?" The centrality of the sermon, the clergy/laity divide, the spiritual & psychological laziness that's unconsciously purchased by tithing, the numbing effect of the special performer, the blessed passivity that's fostered by congregation-as-audience, the unbeatable trap between lead or don't lead - all of these are unfair to the body of Christ, and unfair to our most preciously gifted and called ones, the Pastors themselves. Many never quite realize their very position is what makes significant change nearly impossible. Most do realize this, but embrace compromise as necessary, to some degree or another.
At other times, I honestly believe that Pastors are our only hope for sparking genuine & widespread change. Change always starts with one, not with many. The gifted and called one must sacrifice for the sake of the many. With the proper series of slight shifts on a slow schedule, seeking skillful guidance, and possessing years worth of patience, a traditional Pastor holds a unique opportunity. I can name more than a couple of stories where a typical sit-and-listen auditorium was led into successful transition, in stages, and then oh-so-gradually trained to become a functioning body of multiple functioning parts. I can name multiple 'Pastors' who've had various degrees of success working themselves out of a job, and yet gaining a new job description.
Most churches are like infants, completely dependent on nearly constant parental care.
Many Pastors are good parents, but nearly all feel their 'children' get stuck at the earliest developmental stage.
Natural parenting doesn't succeed if a grown child still acts like an irresponsible infant.
Pastoral care needs to learn that a church has to be raised up... before being 'let go'.
A parent's job never ends. Never.
But it changes. It must.
Else, the child cannot.
Great post and I agree with you. I also find stunning that Eph 4:11-12 is the only mention of pastor/shepherd in the NT.
I think the church has been and is upside down, minimizing &/or eliminating the other gifted ones in Eph 4:11-12 and incorrectly making the pastor the pinnacle of the protestant church.
Sadly it's no wonder the church is a relic in Europe and ineffective in the U.S. with a body so limited in functioning.
Amen, Todd. Yet, we live in Hope.
Thanks for reading & responding.
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