Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Reason Ministers Have Lost Their Way

The reason ministers have lost their way is not hard to find. There is no vivid sense of otherworldliness among us. God as absolutely holy no longer matters. We live for the now! We actually think the Gospel is a message that is primarily about putting lives back together. We have no sense of the eternal. As a result we have a Mr. Fix-it mentality about the Christian ministry.

The church wants a pastor who can fix the problems of the congregation -- social, emotional, marital, financial, and spiritual. (And when the pastor no longer does this successfully, he is calmly told to relocate!) If the church and its message are about meeting people's needs, then the pastor has become a highly trained "need fixer."

In previous generations the minister was understood to be the "man of God." He handled the Word and cared for the souls of his people. Today if he is truly successful, he is more likely to be the manager of a local corporation. (Indeed, many of our largest churches no longer seek theologically trained staff members but rather successful businessmen to develop and lead their programs. Some are even bold enough to openly say so! Let's face it, in the minds of many evangelical parishioners the minister is there to make God enjoyable and the church as user-friendly as possible.

-- John Armstrong, "Semper Reformanda," in Reforming Pastoral Ministry

The Formation of Reformation, Part 1: Pastoral Culture
Kind of a Big Deal
The Entrepreneurial Pastor Trend


Google Gospel said...
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bill streger said...

Jared - yes, yes, and yes. Good stuff.