Monday, October 26, 2009

Where are the Pastors

The pastor/leader model, so prevalent in the modern church, has created a desperate shortage of pastoring. The problem is that most pastor/leaders are not true pastors at all, but unfulfilled apostles, or businessmen who have not found their calling in the Kingdom of God. A genuine pastor cares too much about people to have the drive needed to lead a large organisation. They simply do not have the toughness and energy to be a modern leader.

The result of inadequate pastoring is that only a fraction of new Christians are fully discipled and even fewer move into a ministry. Many churches are full of half-done Christians. Large numbers of Christians get lost and fall away each year. This problem is so serious that we now take it for granted that many new Christians will fall away, despite the fact that Jesus did not lose any of the people entrusted to him (John 17:12).

When Jesus saw the people suffering from sickness and disease, he was filled with compassion for them (Matthew 9:35,36). He saw them as being harassed by Satan, like sheep without a shepherd (pastor). I suspect he looks upon many sick Christians today and sees them as harassed and without a pastor. He wants to send them shepherds, who will not preach at them, but see they are healed. The most urgent need in the Church is for pastors who can set their people free from sickness. True pastor-teachers will have the both the compassion and the faith needed to get the sick healed.

Most pastor/leaders are wonderful, dedicated, loving, enthusiastic people, but they are spread too thin. A weekly sermon, a monthly chat and a program once a year will not defeat evil attacks and transform lives. The inevitable result is a few very exhausted pastor/leaders, far more frustrated potential pastors, and a large number of immature and defeated Christians.

Ezekiel 34:1-4 is a strong word to church leaders. The prophet does not criticise them for shortage of anointing, or lack of vision or inadequate management and organisation skills. His concern is that the shepherds are neglecting the following tasks:

  • Caring for the flock
  • Strengthening the weak
  • Healing the sick
  • Bringing back the weak
  • Searching for the lost
These are the things that Peter and Paul challenged pastors-teachers to do.

Many voices are saying that God is restoring the apostolic and prophetic ministries. That may be true, but I believe that the greatest need is for the restoration of a true pastoral ministry to the church. Considering the large numbers of Christian who remain immature, and the equally large number who fall from the faith, we urgently need God to restore the ministry of the pastor to the church.

Being Church Where We Live, pp81,82.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with much of what you have said. The current pastoral issue that you have identified so well, will not be resolved by simply having more pastors. The church model is broken at the moment and will need to accept radical change to produce Kingdom life and ultimately disciples.

Ed Silvoso who said -

"many modern churches are nothing more than prisoner of war camps, instead of being the equipping grounds for the army of God!"

Howard Snyder summed up the situation in 1971 -

"The church gets in trouble whenever it thinks its in the church business rather than the Kingdom business. In the church business people are concerned with church activities, religious behaviour and spiritual things. In the Kingdom business people are concerned with Kingdom activities, all human behaviour and everything God has made, visible and invisible. Kingdom people see human affairs as saturated with spiritual meaning and Kingdom significance.

Kingdom people seek first the Kingdom of God and its justice; church people often put church work above concerns of justice, mercy and truth. Church people often think about how to get people into church; Kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world. Church people worry that the world might change the church; Kingdom people work to see the church chnage the world.
When Christians put the church ahead of the Kingdom they settle for the status quo and their own kind of people. When they catch a vision of the Kingdom of God their sights shift to the poor, the orphan, the widow, the refugee 'the wretched of the earth' and to God's future. They see the life and work of the church from the perspective of the Kingdom.

If the church has one great need it is this: to be set free for the Kingdom of God, to be liberated from itself as it has become in order to be itself as God intends..."

and from The Word we can see the importance of our individual responsibility to help others

Matthew 25:31-46

  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

There is is much more that can be said on these subjects. This is the first time I have come across your blog (I think). It won't be the last. Keep up the great work.