Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Emergency Pastors

This might sound strange coming from a pastor. And I might even be wrong (it happens once or twice a day). But I think my job is to work myself out of a job. That's right. My 'mission accomplished' won't occur until the mission is being done without me (not meaning 'me' as a person, but 'me' as a paid pastor). You see, I think 'pastors' (as we use the term) were only needed in emergency situations in the earliest church. Tim & Titus were, perhaps, the closest thing to modern day 'pastors' that we see in the NT. And they were sent into chaotic situations in need of emergency leadership. I believe there job, like mine, was to work themselves out of the job (the role).

Some will object that the clergy is a very necessary role. Someone needs to be the 'representative' between people and God. Someone needs to serve communion. Someone needs to baptize. Someone needs to visit my next-door neighbor when they are dying in the hospital. Someone needs to preach. I guess I see Jesus as the mediator. I think all true disciples should be able to serve communion to all other believers. I think any Christian should feel free to baptize other Christians. And I think the neighbor should visit their sick neighbor.

If a local church is filled with people who truly respond to God's leadership in their lives and truly love each other, I don't think one (or a staff-full) of pastors will even be necessary. Any decent sized group of genuine believers will have people gifted for all the various roles pastors are called to do in America. If we're honest, pastors just aren't good at ALL of these roles at once (who would be). Nobody is good at everything, but everyone is good at something.


Aaron Perry said...

I now dub this website, "The Menno Symonds I Never Knew." :)

matthew said...

haha, yeah, you've tagged me correctly. Rightly or wrongly, I'm a radical mennonite at heart

Aaron Perry said...

Matthew, you might enjoy "GloboChrist" by Carl Raschke. Part of Baker's Church and Postmodern Culture series.

sheila said...

I think in modern day society the view of a Pastor has gotten misconstrued. Your right in saying that we (the church) are to be the ones to go our neighbors and share the gospel and respond in ways that Jesus would have.
I think that there will always be a need for a Pastor to teach; which is primarily what your role is to be, teach and lead. And just as a body of believers need the gifts of a particular Pastor for a ‘season’ hopefully, we will mature and begin to grow. And in this way, if we are growing we should be reaching out to others (the lost, hopeless and scared) the church will always be in need of a Teacher.
I think, as you have eluded to, our church (church on a whole, of course not my church : ) ) is not made up of people who respond to God’s leadership and truly love or care about one another. Sorry Pastor Matt it looks as if retirement in none to soon in your future. In God's Love, sheila

matthew said...

well shux!

I pretty much agree with everything you said though.

First, I agree that many Christians are mistaken in thinking that pastors minister and congregations get ministered to. I am glad Hess Rd. is not like that (at least the vast majority of the people don't think like that in our church).

Second, I agree that there will always be a need for teachers, though I'm not sure there's any necessity that the teacher be a 'full-time' 'paid' person. I can imagine a church with 'teachers' that are voluntary just like the other roles in the church.

I'm also not sure that 'teacher' and 'leader' need to be connected. Do they need to be the same person? Personally, I feel gifted to teach, but I have never felt a gifting to lead (nor a real desire to do so). I feel called to 'lead our congregation into truth' but not to lead them in other areas (numerical growth, administration, evangelism, etc).

Thanks for the valuable feedback Sheila!