It’s Not About Us
This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
What is needed in a pastor? Not from what congregations want or would like — that's an endless laundry list. Rather, what does God want and what does God call forth in those his Spirit raises up and gifts as pastors? The unfortunate thing is, more time is spent finding or creating pastors of our own taste rather than seeking a biblical understanding of the pastor in the life a congregation. Biblically, pastors are shepherds of human souls, overseers (episcopos) of the spiritual life of those entrusted to Christ. They are guardians of "the faith delivered once for all to the saints" and stand vigilant against those forces that seek to harm God's people. The whole idea of a pastor as a kind of manager, or worse, CEO is the imposition of a 20th century business model on the church itself, and a recasting of "pastor" in those terms rather than biblical terms. A second imposition, that of the pastor as "caregiver," defined not as one who protects and defends against the enemies of the soul and spirit, but as a pyschotherapist, is another 20th century recasting of "pastor." The thing is, in each case it comes back to us, to what we want, what we'd like. I think it's time for us all, perhaps beginning with pastors, to understand what God means by "pastor", what his Kingdom requires from pastors, and how he is addressing that either with or without the assistance of the church.