Thursday, December 30, 2010

Somewhere Between Jesus & Superman

I often field the question, “What do you do all day?” because of my occupation as a pastor.  There is also a lot of differing opinions as to what the responsibility of a pastor truly is.  Many place the pastor as a person that must be somewhere below Jesus but right above Superman, and many a pastor under those regulations has burned out or worse, lost their passion.  Some do not have as high of an expectation; however, there are some random traditional thoughts on what the responsibility of a pastor should be.   Really, the role of a pastor is rather broad because much of it depends on the environment in which you work, the people in which you minister to, and the resources with which you work.  To be completely honest, those who are believers…you are pastors as well.
You may not think so, but we are all called and empowered to bring forth the news of Christ.  You may not bring forth a sermon (which isn’t much about pasturing but a lot about preaching) by the traditional means, but we have all heard the adage that your life is a sermon and how you live it shows what you believe.  Another crippling matter in the church is to believe that the pastor is superman (or slightly above) and that he alone can do the ministering in the church.  I can see the point that he may be the central or primary minister, but he certainly shouldn’t be the only and also if it happens that God raises someone else up that is truly doing the work of Christ and is doing so in pure truth, it would be in the best interest of the pastor to continue to empower that person for the glory of God. 
I have seen many pastors become threatened when someone else begins a successful ministry in the church.  They feel that it threatens them because they (the pastor) are the main “God” person in the church and all God does should come through them. 
The pastor should be a shepherd, but continually teaching and instructing others to shepherd as well.  We should be training others to take leadership, and I am not just talking about elders either.  Many pastors hold so tight to the reigns of “their” leadership that those very reigns they cling to end up being a noose around their neck because they don’t actually control anything. 
It is His church.
A pastor’s role is one of humility, servanthood (not forced slavery mind you), love, correction, guidance, and so on.  How much of what I mentioned do you agree with?  Now, how much of that should we see in our lives as well?  The pastor leads the people by example, but is not someone that should be in charge of all things spiritual and “of course we can’t be like him because he is a pastor.”  The role of a pastor is to point others to Christ, fulfill the responsibilities that are asked of him in his role (and I hope they are not unreasonably demanding, many pastors are out more nights than a night time security guard due to all the meetings they are required to go to), and love the people. 
There are a lot of things that happen in the common week for many pastors.  Some of us are full time, some part time and bi-vocational, and some of us do it for nothing or next to it.  Different churches ask us to do different things, some people require a lot of attention, some very little, some people think we know nothing because we live in an ivory tower, but I can assure you that some of us are just as grimy as we sit in the trenches with you fighting the same battles you do. 
I don’t want to say we don’t have spiritual responsibilities, of course we do, but everyone does.  No pastor has gone to a church and turned it around or launched it successfully on their own.  It has always taken the body (Church) to get behind him and have God lead them through His Spirit to the place God is calling them.  The pastor should lead, but he should not carry the church nor should he be expected to.

No comments: