Thursday, February 13, 2014

Negligent Pastors, and Their Enablers

The longer I serve in pastoral ministry within a functioning, healthy (and always pursuing further growth) body of elders, the harder it is for me to understand why any pastor would not make every effort to identify qualified men and equip them to share leadership, teaching, and shepherding responsibilities. It's equally incomprehensible to me why anyone who trains pastors would in any way minimize or marginalize this responsibility, let alone build a case intended to excuse those who do not. Why do you think a pastor would want sole responsibility to shepherd a congregation? Why would a pastor disregard his biblical responsibility to identify and train qualified leaders? Why would anyone want to supply an excuse to them? I have a few ideas, but I'm curious what you think.

10 comments:

Ron Bean said...

Why? Two words: Power and control.
I share your pleasure in the benefits of church leadership that shares responsibilities, practices mutual exhortation, and seeks to disciple others for leadership roles.
The memory of the "one man show" is still fresh in my mind. I recall ministries where preaching and teaching were the only real activities of leadership. People came to church to hear somebody preach. Other church activities consisted of things like visitation, teaching Bible classes, choir practice, etc. In other words the people spent their time "doing" church instead of "being" a church. Managing this type of organization is simple for a strong and controlling personality. Future leaders? That's what his son is for.

Jim Peet said...

Ditto Ron Bean: There is a "glass ceiling" between the laymen and professional / paid clergy. We have 25 year olds who are youth pastors (elders ... really?!!!?). In what world do these young guys qualify as elders ... they are not old!

Ben said...

I wouldn't argue that advanced age is a qualification, Timothy's role would seem to introduce some discontinuity between the requirements in the NT church and the synagogues. But I'm right there with you on your point.

And to Ron's point, in addition to power and control, wouldn't you want to offer them the alternatives of 1) biblical ignorance and 2) allegiance to the tradition of the past hundred years over Scripture?

d4v34x said...

I'm curious about your reference to enablers. My reading would be seminary profs or something like that. But aren't the cheif enablers congregants?

Ben said...

The answer to that question would have to hinge, to some degree, on how you weigh the responsibility of one who possesses knowledge. I understand why badly taught flocks permit what they do. I don't understand why shepherd instructors protect what they do.

d4v34x said...

The movement must cohere?

Challenge field reps on something uncomfortable, you endanger your customer base.

Just hypotheses.

Ben said...

So you're suggesting they tread theology as a commodity.

d4v34x said...

I'm suggesting it as a possibility.

d4v34x said...

But I'll be quick to say there are other possible reasons. You raise one yourself: lack of exposure to the practice. If one has been in single pastor churches all one's life and the model has seemed to work reasonably well, one might be more difficult to convince of necessities you cite.

The Bible College, generically, itself may perpetuate the solo pastor model. Pastors come not from the pew but from Greenville or Lansdale or Watertown and must get paid salaries. Well that thinking could easily limit many churches to one or one+assistant.

And then there is anti-reformed bias (elders are presby) and probably a whole host of non-maniacal reasons.

Ben said...

I'm sure lack of exposure could be the case in many circumstances. I'd suggest that those who are unfamiliar might acquaint themselves with a) Baptist history and b) the Bible.