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A Sinful Job Description

Christ's Charge to Peter by Raphael, 1515. In ...
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The Christian Post has an article on depression amongst pastors and ministry leaders, which, in turn, links to an article at The Gospel Coalition. Now the Gospel Coalition article is part one of a five part series, so I’m not going to comment on how far they will go before they are done, but I think they could expand on their first item: Unrealistic expectations.

Not only are our expectations of pastors unrealistic, but they are sinful, and our descriptions of them are deceitful. The surprising thing is not that there are depressed pastors and ministry leaders. The surprising thing is that we have any functional leaders at all! I have long believed that if we described what we want in a pastor in a job description, nobody would be able to fulfill the role.

What we want, I believe, are Christ figures, who, rather than leading the church, will be the church, and will eventually sacrifice themselves, and probably also their families on behalf of a local church. That local “church” is only a church in name, because they are not behaving as the body of Christ, but rather delegating that task to a paid professional. Visiting the sick and shut-ins, serving in the community, spreading the gospel message, giving, and study of the Word are all functions of everyone, not just one ordained person.

Just leading the teaching ministry  of a mid-sized congregation would be a solid, full-time job for one person, and that only if he or she spends most of the available time equipping other teachers in the church.

As long as we have unrealistic–yes, sinful!–expectations enshrined in our church organization, we’re going to have leadership problems, not to mention plain old “living the good news” problems.


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