-- Romans 12:3-5
I'm not sure how to put this . . . I'm kind of a big deal. People know me.
-- Ron Burgundy
What do churches look for in a pastor? I ask honestly: Has anyone ever seen a minister search ad that specifically asked for a man of integrity, monogamy, self-control, peace, financial propriety, and gentleness?
I mean, I know we want leaders who are gifted, skilled, trained, and educated. But is that all we want? A professional?
Gentleness! God forbid we seek out gentle pastors. That's sooo not in the pastorpreneur job description.
I'm not talking about being passive or a pushover. I'm not talking about being weak or timid. I'm talking about being gentle, which is something the Bible says a church shepherd should be.
(A somewhat related question: Wouldn't it be super-radically innovative for a church to list the fruit of the Spirit on its website as its "core values"? Somebody please steal this idea! It beats the same ol' "excellence, quality, creativity, yada yada yada.")
Pastor as visioneer. Pastor as CEO. Pastor as figurehead. Pastor as celebrity.
What in the world are we doing?
Is it any wonder the pastors we consider "successful" are the ones increasingly disconnected from their people, while the ones who throw themselves into messy ministry get burnt out, chewed up, spit out?
Can our church culture even tolerate the pastor as humble shepherd? Is that sort of person too boring?
I know this is rambling.
I'm just thinking about people close to me, and I can't bring myself to turn my thoughts of their ministry situations into a treatise.
I'm just . . . concerned.
We have a long row to hoe, and I am concerned the average Christian is not looking to the right men to lead the charge. Our values may be upside down. And like the fighter jet illustration in Dallas Willard's The Divine Conspiracy, we can be upside down and not even realize it.
This is why Christ must be the focal point. This is why Christ must be the center. This is why Christ must be the true north of the Church.
Not growth, as blessed as that is. Not changed lives, as addictive as those are. Not all the great things the Church can be and can do. Satisfaction in knowing Jesus, living on Jesus, worshiping Jesus as God and as our friend.
Jesus is the context. Jesus gives the right perspective on everything else.
Do we want pastors who will attract attention, raise our numbers, fix our budget, plan for our future, and then, if there is time left over, help us be satisfied in Christ, to find grace sufficient?
Do we want someone planting his flag? The church's? Or Jesus'?
Piggybacking on David Wayne, who piggybacked on Bill Kinnon, who piggybacked on Daryl Dash, I must share this Tim Keller quotable:
Most churches make the mistake of selecting as leaders the confident, the competent, and the successful. But what you most need in a leader is someone who has been broken by the knowledge of his or her sin, and even greater knowledge of Jesus' costly grace. The number one leaders in every church ought to be the people who repent the most fully without excuses, because you don't need any now; the most easily without bitterness; the most publicly and the most joyfully. They know their standing isn't based on their performance.
I think one of the hardest crucifixions of the flesh the church will have to commit is the relinquishing of the tyranny of "results."
Yeah. Messing with DNA here. It's church growth heresy!
Is there a place for the gifted, skilled, mature pastor who is not, well, you know?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
-- Philippians 2:3
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