Yesterday I argued that pastoring might be harder than other forms of leadership. In a way I believe that, simply because the North American church is in such a mess overall and there are few transformational leaders. Scott pushed back, though, and argued that I’m wrong. “lately i have been re-examining the whole sacred/secular leadership issue and am wondering if in fact leading a church ‘may be harder’ than leading an organization.” Now, Scott isn’t smart enough to tell the difference between a picture of me and Jordon, but in this case he just may be right. Eugene Peterson seems to agree with him:
It is no more difficult to pursue the pastoral vocation than any other. Vocations in homemaking, science, agriculture, education, and business when embraced with biblically informed commitments are likewise demanding and require an equivalent spirituality. What is essential for pastors is that we focus on our particular “pestilence that strikes at noonday”…The idolatry to which pastors are conspicuously liable is not personal but vocational, the idolatry of a religious career that we can take charge of and manage.
So there you have it. When Scott and Eugene Peterson speak with one voice that pretty much settles the issue. Maybe pastoring isn’t harder, but it has its own set of temptations like any career. We probably need to lower the pulpit and raise the sense of vocation (a la Brother Lawrence) but maybe pastors will need to learn from non-pastors in order to do this.