Popular Models for Pastoral Ministry

David W. Hall
Friday, March 1st 2013
Mar/Apr 2013

Pastor as Ultimate Need-Meeter:The pastor is a sensitive therapist/social worker, understanding the congregation's needs and meeting these needs in extraordinary ways. Even the best versions of this model need to beware: only Christ is truly heroic and able to do for people what they really need done.

Pastor as Entrepreneur:
The church exists to support the pastor's organizational ideas. New plans are better than fixed roles and the pastor is the clever leader with a plan, regardless of whether his plans pass the tests of reality.

Pastor as Novel-ist:
Yearning to be recognized, the pastor is aware that novelty is one path to recognition. The pastor wants to invent the killer ecclesiastical app or patent a new style of ministry. In a pinch, will settle for a new title or a new theological discovery that no one else has ever made.

Pastor as Blogger:
Perhaps the most common model at present, the pastor cultivates a public image and builds celebrity capital with hundreds (nay, thousands) of Web and Twitter followers, many of whom are neither in that pastor's church nor even in the same denomination.

Pastor as Worship Leader:
The pastor as contemporary Christian worship arts star. Likes to work out new songs for that next album. Sometimes sings the closing prayer.

Pastor as Emcee/Youth Comic:
On-stage emcee, sort of Ryan Seacrest-Meets-Billy Graham. The pastor specializes in dazzling, inspiring, and motivating audiences (especially the least inspirable group, namely, cynical teenagers).

Pastor as Pastor:

Ministry is neither so complex as to require instruction by a small set of pastoral illuminati, nor is it unattainable to the average pastor. Our tools are actually quite modest and simple. And there is a divine reason for that: the Lord does not want the ambassadors to be confused with our God and King who sends the good news and calls us by his grace. We are not given certain powers, because God knows how easily the human heart creates idols. So he has designed a set of tools that, when successful, do not bring glory to us. In John 15, Jesus called us to bear fruit that will last. If you seek that fruit, you will be more interested in achieving a few things that endure, rather than chasing fantasies of ministry that easily evaporate into thin air.

Friday, March 1st 2013

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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