I often ‘fantasize’ about going back…you know back to good old fashion church pastoring. A good mate, Hamo – the Backyard Missionary – he did it. Went back that is. He is heading back to Quinns Baptist Church in the next few weeks to be their main man 🙂
In my fantasy I ponder the kind of pastor I would be in a local church nowadays. So much has changed in side my head as well as in my day to day practice and lifestyle. I commit so much more time to staying around home than I did when I worked for a local church.
Someone once shared with me about a church they are involved with and how their pastor had been doing a series of messages compelling the church to ‘follow the vision’ and ‘get with the program folks’. On one particular week he shared all about leadership and how with him at the helm he expects everyone to follow. God has given him the towel, the mandate, the baton, the anointing, the apointment to lead this church so you should follow, if not bugger off. (my interpretation of the message I was told about!) The illustration was used about a bus. The senior pastor told the congregation that he is the driver and expects all on board to want to go the direction he is going. When the bus stops at the bus stop and you say “i want to go to Hillarys” the driver says ‘you will need to catch a taxi as this bus does not go there”. The pastor told the congregation (so I am told) that taxi wil COST you dearly. NEVER go it alone, this will cost, it is expensive.
Just to drive the point home, another one of the pastors in the church took to the stage mid-sermon to emphasise his blind obedience to the senior pastor and the blessing that comes from being on his bus no matter what, he was thanked by his boss and the congregation assured that no extra pay would be forth coming for this guy for his comments 🙂
Now – all this obviously was shared to me by someone who was present and I have used my own language, but it got me thinking about the book I once read called Renegotiating The Church Contract by Thwaites. In the book he argues that the above model of leadership is very Old Testament. Picture Moses climbing the mountain on the peoples behalf, meeting God on the peoples behalf, hearing from him on their behalf, sharing the message about God and his commandments. Never would they try to presume themselves worthy of seeing God or hearing from him themselves – ohhh no! They sent Moses to do that on their behalf. He was their man, their priest in a sense. They followed Mo and he showed them the way to go according to what God had told him. Get on the Moses bus!
In the New Testament we open to see Jesus model of ministry as he sits in the place of a servant and washes the disciples feet in order to equip them to eat and hear from God about his imminent death. We move further and see a tear form in the curtain that seperated God and man (Read Hebrews). A new way was being formed, a new path for people to gain equal access to God, no longer needing a priest to hear from God for us. We become a priesthood of all believers, then we see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit for all people to enable them to hear God, to call on him, to do his Kingdom work begun in Christ. The leaders of this movement seem to ‘antenna men’. People moving amongst the believers encouraging them hear God, tuning in their radar to be able to discern his good pleasing and perfect will for their lives, on an equal journey confessing sins together accepting that others may provide insite for their [the leaders] own walk with God. Not telling the people God’s will, but helping them hear God. In fact more like a mountain guide taking the church up the hill rather than going himself and returning and saying ‘follow me, this is where God wants us to go’. In fact It looks more like a fleet of taxis driving all over the city doing Kingdom acts, serving people, serving God, loving people, loving God than it does a bus driver calling people onto his bus and all heading off in his ‘God given direction’.
How would I do it different if I was to go back…hmmm I know I have pondered this before. I think I would get the sack inside of a year for not attending enough meetings, not caring about the money in the bank or the budget or the building or the garden or the cafe…ok, I would care about that, not preaching proper sermons, not being in the office, swearing, drinking too much, wearing shorts and thongs on stage…and a shirt 🙂 Not sure about it really. Not sure entirely that I would say no, but not sure I would say yes if the right looking ministry job came along.
I wore shorts and 2 odd socks to preach last week at Quinns, my pants were falling down as I left my belt behind and I forgot to shave…I think those guys overlooked most of that!