The Role of the "Pastor"
A couple days ago I was writing how being bi-occupational allowed me to naturally pastor in a way that calls the community to live their gifting and calling for the sake for the kingdom…
In case I wasn’t clear, let me quote from one of my heros, Lesslie Newbigin. He’s talking about the role of the pastor and says this,
“The task of ministry is to lead the congregation as a whole in a mission to the community as a whole, to claim its whole public life, as well as the personal lives of all its people, for God’s rule. It means equipping all the members of the congregation to understand and fulfill their several roles in this mission through their faithfulness in their daily work. It means training and equipping them to be active followers of Jesus in his assault on the principalities and powers which he disarmed on the cross. And it means sustaining them in bearing the cost of that warfare.”
“To claim its whole public life as well as the personal lives of its people, for God’s rule.” Wow. That’s solid stuff. How do we do that? That’s obviously more complicated and there is no one way to do it. I think the answer depends on your culture, your setting and your community. In the burbs where we live, its a whole other kind of challenge.
But, there is one thing that is fair universal, in order to lead your congregation into God’s rule the leader must be doing this himself or herself. Of course, that’s easier said than done too.
But, speaking from experience, its a major detail that is overlooked far too often. Before we start worrying about being better leaders, I think we need to just be better followers of Jesus…
Again, in case I am not clear enough, let’s let Lesslie Newbigin state it better,
“[The minister] is not like a general who sits at headquarters and sends his troops into battle. He goes at their head and takes the brunt of the enemy attack. He enables and encourages them by leading them, not just by telling them. In this picture, the words of Jesus have quite a different force. They all find their meaning in the central keyword, ‘follow me’.”
There. Much better.
(These quotes are found in Newbigin’s book, “The Gospel in a Pluralist Society” in the amazing chapter called “Ministerial Leadership for a Missionary Congregation.” – pages 234-241).