Exodus 18:18 “You and the people who come to you will soon be worn out. The job is too much for one person; you can’t do it alone.”
Every pastor – especially in smaller churches with one or two staff members – should have this verse posted in a very prominent place in their church offices. I don’t care what a church board might say or imply, ministering to others is not a one-person job. The community of faith is done a disservice when it’s encouraged to believe that the real ministry of the community is done by the paid professional. It’s damaging to the leader’s family. It’s damaging to the leader’s health. It’s damaging to the members of the community of faith. I don’t know why this One Person Does All The Ministry model was ever established and I definitely don’t understand why we allow it to continue.
Then, a few readings later today, Jesus says this:
Matthew 23:8 But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters.9 Don’t call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven.10 None of you should be called the leader. The Messiah is your only leader.11 Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others.
Again, why do we still encourage the “One Person Does All The Ministry Because He’s (or She’s) The One That’s Been Formally Trained” model of church leadership? I just don’t get it.
On a side note, Proverbs 6:27-35 is some sound advice, indeed.
Typically, when spoken out of passion, it means it’s spoken out of experience.
You’re right, it’s an AWFUL way to “do ministry”. It’s even more sad, and damaging to His kingdom, when the pastor/preacher/priest/etc. accept and believe that it is their job only. If the church, and the called leader of that church, believe in the “One Person Does All The Ministry” model, I don’t know how how God will ever be able to fully flow within that body. It’s such a crutch to what He is wanting to do inside the church walls, and inside of the hearts of the ones that those inside the church walls will come in contact with on an every day basis.
Great post, and food for thought, for the day.
I guess the next question should be: what are WE doing to encourage and support this type of model? And how can we be a better encouragement to our pastors?
And I don’t know what you’re talking about, Kyle. I have absolutely no experience with this type of model. 😉
Just realized I should probably start posting Jesus quotes in red instead of blue. It just feels…fitting…
Greetings friend, I was seeking for a blog under the tag of “pastor”, Hope you will share more like this on the pastors ministry.This is a good question. Do you think pastors like to do most of the ministry themselves becaue in doing so they are able to justify the fact that they are on a payroll. I’m a fultime evangelist/missionary, and I find the enticement to become a pastor is overhwelming to many, Especially if they have family responsibilites. Of course thats just my perspective. Would like to know yours and the view of others too.
Thanks for this blog.
I think that the whole idea of what “church” is has been turned backwards in most congregations. It isn’t the building or the service- it’s the community of believers. But for the understanding of “Church” to change, the understanding of “Christian” also has to change. I take the notion of “priesthood of all believers” very seriously.
As far as what pastors do to perpetuate this model- what I have observed in several congregations is pastors being dissatisfied with what lay leadership does or deciding that it is less work to do things themselves. Discipleship looks a lot like spiritual parenting- it takes a lot of time and patience to teach people what to do, and one must be tolerant of a lot of imperfection as they try it on their own. Most people really need to be walked through a process step by step with a lot of encouragement and accountability- especially if they have a lot of dysfunction in their background.. It really is a LOT of work for the minister/mentor.
I think on the one hand many Christians don’t think ministry is their job. On the other hand many have little confidence in their ability to do it. There is a tendency to think that paid clergy have a special power that makes ministry happen, when the truth is that ministry is often as simple as just being present, a kind word, or seeing a small need and meeting it. I think it can’t hurt to spend a lot of time preaching on the ways God has already gifted each of us and is already at work in our lives. We tend to look for big miracles and miss the ways that God’s grace is powerfully present in our own minds and in our relationships.