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.
Seminary and the Lecture
Perhaps nothing leaves as large an imprint on a pastor’s life as his seminary experience. Having spent four years listening to lectures, he comes to see the lecture the way to transmit information. He will carry that imprint into the pulpit (lectern) where he will continue the expected tradition of giving a weekly sermon.
Some see in the example of Peter in Acts 2 a template for preaching that is similar to the lecture / sermon format. However if we take a look at the Greek words translated preach they are usually meant to convey announcement, proclamation, and heralding. Today this activity would be more consistent with evangelism.
The oversight of a group of Christians would not need much in the way of proclamation, but rather the sort of relational connection found in dialog, discourse, and persuasion. This is better suited to the description of church function found in Ephesians 4 with the result of Christians growing into Christ-likeness.
There are churches that have come to expect a weekly exhortation to be saved. If the church members are already Christians, it would seem not very productive to continue to attempt that which has already been achieved.
The lecture format carries with it the risk of theater and the desire to “win the audience”. There are numerous books that have collections of amusing stories and heart touching illustrations that can be inserted into a sermon to make it more appealing. This path leads to “making the cross of Christ of none effect”.
The pastor is often captive to the traditions he inherits. However, he may be able to shift the focus from the sermon being the apex of the church members week to the personal growth they find in a small group or Sunday school class.
However, since most church members have been through public school, they also may have had a classroom imprint such that they feel uncomfortable with attempts a relational connection and prefer a lecture sermon.
Another problem with the lecture format is that it can contribute to pastoral isolation. The lecture presenter can be seen as a sort of priest bringing what is sacred down from on high.