“Pastor” defined and refined: Part 6

Object_0009_1024_1 During my search for a “job” I’ve become convinced that many of our churches are off base in what they are looking for in a “pastor.”  So many of the job descriptions I’ve come across out there are “recruiting” or “head-hunting” for “leaders” who are immediately decisive as well as leaders who can administrate, set vision, control budgets, oversee staff, strategize for building projects, and develop other leadership teams.  That’s all good stuff.  But why have these things snuck their way up the priority list for a pastor?  Why are these corporate leadership/management definitions at the top of so many job descriptions for our churches?  What happened to seeking for people who love Jesus?  What happened to pastors who spent time in prayer?  Where did all pastors go who have solid family lives, or who consider relationships a high importance, or who (gasp!) sit down and draw in the dirt when confronted with a difficult situation?  Have churches become businesses?  Are we over committee-d?  Are we looking for a King Saul even while Samuel cries?

Much of the problem, I think, comes from a view of leadership that is inherited through naturalism.  In naturalism, individualism and dominance are championed while spirituality is dismissed as irrelevant.  On the scale of qualities for excelling pastors, leadership is always a strongly desired pastoral trait while faith is often a secondary issue, if it’s even mentioned.  Naturalism encourages an emphasis on functional action and things like achievements, technique, control, productivity, individualism, self-importance, rationality, command.  In contrast, a biblical view of pastoring places priority on formative faith and things like prayer, love, humility, hope, community, selflessness, service, equipping.  Naturalism speaks of people as commodity, capital to use for gain.  Naturalism produces “human resource” departments.  Should we accept this as a model structure for our churches?  Or, might God’s suggestion to us rather be “resourceful human” departments?

I think that many churches are looking for leaders.  That’s fine… as long as the leaders are defined biblically.  Churches often tend to think that God will bless them if they were to just find the mountain climbing “leader” that God has “already chosen” for them.  What if no “leader” ascends?  Does that mean God isn’t leading? 

6 Comments

  1. I think, Paul, that there are some non-negotiable elements to structure that must exist in a church. Biblically, there are principles, and even positions, that seem to be essential aspects to a church. Perhaps all of my thinking needs to go back another major step by asking the foundational question: What is Church? Or even, What is a church? Now I’m all messed up! 🙂 Not really. I’m loving God and the church!

  2. i wonder what would happen to the description of a pastor if churches (1) were not connected to government in any way (namely the whole tithing and getting a break on your taxes and being an actuall “society” within the gov.), and (2) if pastors weren’t paid positions?
    would this effect the churches desire/need/want for “leaders who can administrate, set vision, control budgets, oversee staff, strategize for building projects, and develop other leadership team”?
    hmmmmm…

  3. Deanne, you are gifted to lead the way Jesus wants someone to lead. You and Glen are blessed servants whom God will someday exalt. Keep going at it! Kathy and I are so richly encouraged to have been next door to you for the last 1200 days!

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