Dr. Willard writes of the pastor who does not encourage his or her flock to communicate with God.
The pastor wants the church depending on him alone to have that God connection.
I don’t believe that is very efficient pastoring in today’s time.
I was asked to serve on a United Methodist District-wide committee that was to determine pastoral effectiveness. To me an effective pastor gets his or her church very involved with as many aspects of Christian ministry as they care to be involved with [even speaking to God]. There is too much work to do and sadly too many church members think the pastor is supposed to do it all because the pastor is “paid staff.”
One pastor came before the committee. I knew him. He was always a charismatic man who had a soft and genuine way about him. Our job was to ask questions. He reported a tremendous growth at the two churches he was pastoring and I asked him point blank: “Do you think the people are coming to church to grow in their faith, enjoy the company of fellow believers or are they just coming to see and hear you?” He did not answer the question directly but what was I getting at?
Was the growth dependent on him?
If it is, that is not healthy for the church at all.
If church members reveal that they speak to God, that’s ok. If church members want to lead in a ministry, that’s ok. If church members want to work at church in any capacity, that should be encouraged.
Pastors can’t do it all and a mature pastor recognizes that. Through increased spirituality, ministry leadership and just good ole church work, members grow and the mission of the church gets accomplished.
Dependence is not something that is good in any church if dependence makes people stagnant. Dependence can cause pastors to burn out.
In the Methodist Church, pastors don’t have lifetime appointments so what is likely to happen when a charismatic pastor leaves? People will leave the church because their attendance depends on him or her.
In honor of Pastor Appreciation Month which is October, I am going to reprint Dr. Thom Rainer’s 12 reasons he loves his pastor. These words in my opinion reflect a reasonable and mature attitude toward a pastor. His thoughts about his pastor are good thoughts.
1.I love my pastor because he/she studies and preaches the Word faithfully. He is consistent every week.
2.I love my pastor because he/she is a man of prayer. He knows he cannot lead and shepherd our church in his own power. He is totally dependent on God.
3.I love my pastor because he/she is always on call. His workweeks are long. He knows his vacations and days off will often be interrupted by crises and deaths, but he doesn’t complain. He views it as a part of his call.
4.I love my pastor because he/she is there to celebrate my victories and to comfort me in my difficulties. His life is a roller coaster of emotional events, but he remains constant and strong for our church.
5.I love my pastor because he/she leads our church with a vision. And he constantly seeks to make certain it is God’s vision and not his own.
6.I love my pastor because he/she endures criticism from church members. And though the critics hurt him, he perseveres and loves them anyway.
7.I love my pastor because he/she is authentic. He does not act spiritually superior or condescending. The pastor I see in the pulpit is consistent with the pastor I see in other settings.
8.I love my pastor because he/she bears the burdens of leading many people without complaints or self-pity. He hears of so many challenges and problems in others’ lives, but that does not deter him from listening and praying for us.
9.I love my pastor because he/she is sacrificial. He seeks to put church members before himself. He is a selfless person and a grateful person.
10.I love my pastor because he/she loves to share the gospel and the power of the resurrection. He is truly passionate about seeing those without Christ become followers of the Savior.
11.I love my pastor because he/she disciples and mentors many. He understands that his role is not to do all the work of ministry, but to equip others to do the work of ministry.
12.I love my pastor because he/she loves our congregation with a Christ-like love. Though he can get frustrated and discouraged, his love for us does not wane. Indeed we get a glimpse of the love of Christ through the love of our pastor.
All church members should love their pastor in a reasonable and mature way. Celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month. Pastors are special. Let them inspire you to help them. Remember the church is not the pastor; the church is you and the pastor.