Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You are Either a Pastor or a Quitter?

Some time ago, a discussion in a group I was a part of on LinkedIn posed this question: "Are you a quitter?" It was a question about pastors "leaving the ministry," bemoaning the idea of anyone "getting out of the fight." Below is my comment in response to this question.

I think the "job descriptions" we have made up for pastors is part of the problem. You can say a lot of things about what you think a pastor is supposed to do, but the one thing you can't do with all those claims is back them up with Scripture. The word "pastor" or "pastors" only shows up one time in the Bible (in its plural form - Eph. 4). Now, let that sink in!

There is not a single piece of inspired text that comes out and ever describes what a pastor should do. (People will go to verses about deacons and elders and overseers, and notice that we all walk away with a hundred different interpretations from those teachings.) Bottom line, at the end of the day, all the duties we say a pastor must perform are made up by man.
That puts a lot of pressure on a person that may have nothing to do with God.

Also, the idea that someone leaving a pastoral position is "leaving the ministry" may be troubling wording. There is so much communicated in just that choice of phrase, which could be condradictory to much of the New Testament when it is unpacked. Here's another one I hear a lot: "Are you in full-time ministry?", or "Do you work in the church?"

All these phrases smack of a sacred/secular distinction that the Bible simply does not present. Jesus is not the Lord of some things and not others. Jesus is LORD of ALL! Jesus is Lord of your work. Jesus is Lord of your home. Jesus is Lord of your family. Jesus is Lord of your recreation. Jesus is Lord of the marketplace. Jesus is Lord of your health. Jesus is Lord of your finances. We may struggle to acknowledge or obey his Lordship in all of these areas, but it does not change the fact that He is the Lord of life - all life!

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