A web site for pastors who are hurting, pastors who are thinking of quitting, and pastors who have quit the ministry.
frus·tra·tion n: the result of expectations exceeding reality.
|The intention is to describe
aspects of ministry that are not often recognized or presented that can
provide a broader understanding of the dynamics of ministry to explain how
and why this can be one of the most challenging jobs there is.
I set this web site up to be able to share my perspectives and offer counsel to those who have suffered the "slings and arrows of outrageous" ministry (to borrow from Shakespeare).
I am taking a personal approach to this ministry because I see one of the many problems that besiege Christianity today is the impoverishment of relationships. For that reason I wish to be available to any who feel that correspondence could be helpful.
The Pastor as Dictator
In conversation once with the head of a non-profit agency, I was told that there were two types of administrators, gunslingers and caretakers. I was further told from his observation that caretaker organizations would eventually be taken over by a gunslinger from another organization.
A pastor with a great deal of energy can apply it to church growth, initiating a multitude of church programs and activities, and even manipulating or bullying the church members. Often a pastor with such boldness is seen as a dynamic leader and can sort of develop a cult-like following.
A pastor hired for an extrovert temperament and boldness will not likely find an elder board or deacons acting to limit his plans. As a result, a pastor in this situation may find himself in trouble consequential to his unchecked passions. In mechanical systems one sees the use of a governor. In electrical systems one see the use of negative feedback. Both design choices are selected for stability and to restrict any runaway conditions.
The identification of an “enemy” can help a bold pastor focus the attention of his group on people, beliefs, or practices that are antithetical to the values he highlights to his group. For example, conservatives are often the enemy of liberal churches and liberals are often the enemy of conservative churches. Sadly, both tend to foster self-righteousness.
A bold pastor can be in danger of seeing himself as the Lord’s anointed. He may see in Hebrews 13:17 the admonition that others “obey” him. This is similar to the parent that fails to adapt to their growing children and try to issue commands to their teenagers as if they were still small children or robots. A parent has to adapt to help his child learn to make his own decisions so that he can function in adult life.
Similar to a dictatorial parent, the pastor drawn down this path can focus on actions and shape his church to emphasize works. This tends to promote the flesh over the Spirit and at best attenuate the growth he is supposed to facilitate. At worst he can drive people away or force them into a sort of regressive dormancy.
Much damage has been done to Christians over the centuries by pastors seeking to direct their actions rather than helping them grow and mature in faith.