Two excellent posts this week from Challies.com about the true nature of pastoral ministry in the local church. Enjoy!
First, by Ed Stetzer, The Problem with Pastor as Rock Star. The concluding appeal is spot-on:
The decline in the church, perhaps, is caused by our satisfaction with earthly appeal. We should endeavor to present the glory of God instead of the cleverness of our abilities to edit movie clips, mimic the local CCM station, or engage social issues. People can walk away from all of that unchanged. But nobody can encounter the glory of God and live the same as they did before.The second was by Frank Turk, cleverly titled,9 Minutes with Frank Turk. Turk's observations on the "big church" mentality are perceptive:
The glory of God is a good place to end this article. Pastors (of churches of any size) need to worry less about their status and be concerned more with God’s mission and His glory. The glory of God should be your recurring song, and with that in mind, it’s okay for rock stardom to fade out and the Morning Star to rise in your place.
The problem is this: we are not marketing a product. We are not making widgets. Seriously: we are not really asking people to make some kind of commercial transaction where they give something and the church or God gives them something back. What we have is a situation in which everyone we want to tell about this Jesus who was crucified thinks they have much to give God - including advice about how to run and fix the world - when in fact we ought to point to the fact that they have nothing to give God, and that is their main problem. What we are here to put in the marketplace, as Paul did in Athens, is a declaration that for all our wealth and culture and religion, we are all now being told by God through Jesus Christ that we have no excuse of ignorance, and that when God comes to judge it will not be enough to say that we offered sacrifices and very solemn and earnest reflection to an unknown god.
...Think about that - because the last thing you want when you see Jesus is for him to tell your house is desolate. Who wants their life’s work to look like a cathedral on the outside, but in the end it gets burned up like a house made of straw and sticks?
Let me challenge you, folks, to make churches that are big churches - but not big as the world measures it, as if Jesus came to die so you could be a life coach, or have a famous podcast. Make your church big on Jesus’ death for sin, and big on mortifying our human accomplishments, and big on giving this message and everything else it takes in order that many people will be saved, and many people will hear Jesus say to them, “well done, you good and faithful servant”.