26 March, 2007

Maybe The Ministry Is Not For You...

Boy, It sure seems like the shepherds are having a lot of problems with the sheep these days. Now, I know this is nothing new and perhaps it is just the advance of communications and we are hearing about it more. But, I don’t think I have ever seen a time when pastors are so angry…with the sheep! I mean outright angry…in public...even!

Just visit pastors.com sometime and read the pastors forum where they talk about killing the sheep whom they refer to as wolves! Oy vey, some of these 'shepherds' are down right scary! Check the news and you may hear Rick Warren blaming the sheep for every tidbit of negative publicity he gets. Whatever you do, don't question the pastor...he cannot take it.

But, scripture shows us that ‘shepherding’ a church is not a bed of roses. Paul did lots of pleading in his letters... even making tents as to not be a burden to some who thought he just wanted their money. Boy, have things changed. Now, pastors negotiate six figure salaries and book deals. There is a race on to grow the latest, coolest mega church.

The scripturally ignorant sheep may start believing they really are the problem when perhaps, it is the shepherd who should rethink his ‘career’ choice. Some sure sound more like hirelings instead of shepherds.

Maybe the ministry is NOT for you if:

  1. You really do believe the 'abundant life' is about material things. (Hint: There was a time when Christians knew it might mean burning at the stake for the Name of Christ.)

  2. You think in numbers and percentages instead of eternal souls. Clue: If you attend a pastor’s conference and another pastor asks you, “Whatcho runnin” and you immediately know what he means, perhaps ministry is not for you.

  3. You believe that unity means everyone agrees (with you) and gets along with each other... while agreeing with you, of course. 'Ding Ding Ding'. Wrong answer. Unity in the Word is all that matters. And yes, if you preach the Word in context, some will get mad and leave. Helloooo…earth to pastor…that is what scripture teaches will happen. It offends and divides. It is also known as The Sword of Truth. (Whatever happened to 'Sword Drills'?)

  4. You are always thinking up ways for your church to be relevant to the culture. You know, the full counsel of God is ALWAYS relevant....just ask David Wilkerson, the Pennsylvania hayseed, who went to NYC to minister to gangs. He did NOT procure tattoos nor did he dispose of his skinny black ties first. Oh, and while we are on the topic, stop using popular culture for sermon illustrations and topics. We are supposed to be 'separate from' not 'accepting of' the popular culture. Hint: Church programs and events should not reflect popular TV shows. (Please forget American Idol exists! Ummm, it has the word 'Idol' in it...get it?)

  5. It is always about money. I heard one pastor say that he always preaches on tithing in January….every year…like clock work. I have a novel idea! Why don’t we depend on God more?

  6. You can’t miss a pastor’s conference. Are you afraid you may miss the latest thing in church growth strategies?

  7. You are visiting well known websites for every sermon. Now, come on, your knees and fingers are supposed to be calloused from preparing sermons. The Holy Spirit should prepare your sermons. You are only an instrument. Church is becoming like the mall. Go to any church in Anytown, USA and you can hear the same Willow Creek or Pastors.com sermon. What are they calling it? Oh yeah, 'Church franchising'.

  8. Your sermon’s are typically called something kitschy like: Desperate Housewives, Pimp My Church Van, The ‘F’ Word or Spiritual Sex Lives. Uh...get a job as a motivational speaker instead….please.

  9. You refer to sin as 'mistakes'.

  10. You are using the Message Bible exclusively. (Also includes NLT)

  11. You have counseled with an image consultant. (We can tell, you know)
  12. You refer to your church as an 'organization' and yourself as the 'CEO'

  13. You have not used one of these words in a sermon in the last 2 months: Sin, Wrath, Repentance, Sanctification or Regeneration.

What have I left out? This:

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. "

2 Timothy 4: 1-5


Dawn said...

Excellent observations!! When Pastor's see the flock as the enemy, and no longer show an interest in the spirtural lives of the flock, you know we are in the last days. It is so sad to see Pastor's saying that people who question them on their theology have fallen into sin. Praise God that their is still some of the flock that have the courage to stand up for God's word.

St. Priscilla said...

Excellent article! I like the version/translation you quote from. What version is it? Thanks!

Melissa said...

How about that last point? How about using ALL of those whords in ONE sermon ---repeatedly! The sermon I heard last Sunday had all of these words and the words WERE used repeatedly. It was balm to my soul!

Amen on calling them out. If you see yourself here, then...(see the title!)

Lindon said...

St. Priscilla, It should be the English Standard Version. I try to keep my Biblegateway locked on the ESV. It is my favorite translation and I can hardly wait for the ESV Study Bible to come out...projected in 2008.

celticpole said...

I'm a little late to this party but read this post and just had to add my 2 cents. My husband is a pastor and is the midst of some trying times in our congregation. It isn't a bed of roses but it seems that oftentimes the pastor is expected to be the puppet of the congregation - pull his strings up and he meets all our needs. That's not why God has placed pastors in these difficult positions. Pastors are there to challenge and deepen the church's understanding/conviction/love/relationship with the LORD. Often there are "Only on Sunday" Christians in the pews and they don't take nicely to being challenged in their relationship with their Maker so they challenge the authority/teaching of the pastor. Yeah it's hard work, yeah it's a calling and yeah the church should be in prayer for their pastor.
Most pastors salary is paltry - not six figures - that's an anomaly.
Just had to get this off my chest. Thank you.