THE CHURCH: I bet if we follow the world’s ideas of leadership it will work out great!
THE CHURCH 10 YEARS LATER: Huh, that’s weird, it’s not working. Welp, let’s keep at it.
Almost every week there is a news story about a pastor of a large church taking a fall. There are stories about para-church organizations that have grown big and their leaders abuse their power. There are reports of churches covering up sexual abuse and knowingly having felons lead ministry.
The news is quite depressing, especially since the world takes particular glee in reporting such things. Beating on pastors is good fun.
I, in no way, defend creepy pastors. They deserve to get punished by the law in the here and now and I believe for eternity they will receive their due for their behavior as well.
There’s even part of me that takes glee in seeing terrible pastors get caught and busted. They ought to be. Unfortunately, the mourning I feel far outweighs any gleefulness. The disastrous reputation we’ve given the church, causing the “Gentiles” to blaspheme, is a heavy weight that all pastors live under.
People view pastors with suspicion. That’s not a bad thing necessarily. Using skepticism in choosing a pastor is a good thing, it’s just too bad it takes abuse to make that a thing. Instead of being skeptical about what the pastor is teaching, now people are skeptical if the pastor can keep his hands under control and his pants zipped.
One of the main reasons there are so many pastors getting into trouble is because there are too many pastors. James gave the wise advice to not have many of you be teachers (James 3:1). Paul’s guidelines for choosing church leaders are mainly moral issues.
But today we use business models for choosing pastors and building churches. We look for degrees and track records of success. At some point in pastoral search committees someone will raise Paul’s qualifications, but it’s sort of tacked on and gets interpreted as, “Is this guy nice?”
Business is run on the Bottom Line. If profits go up then everyone is happy. It’s all about tracking the numbers. Find the techniques that make the needle move in the right direction and double down on that.
Churches have followed this model and here we are. We hire businessmen to run the business and then we’re shocked when the businessmen don’t act like godly men. You didn’t use godliness as a guideline to hire though.
Sure, in the meanwhile, before our pastor/businessmen explode in immorality, our churches appear to be doing great. We’re growing like never before, expanding our campuses, and really “making a difference.”
I’m sure at some point Christ is preached and souls might be edified. And “if it saves one soul, isn’t it worth it?” Maybe, but imagine how many would be saved if we did it right?
God used Jonah after all, but honestly, who uses Jonah as criterion for hiring missionaries? It’s possible that doing church the stupidest way possible might occasionally work, but why not go with how God told us to do it in His Word?
Churches and pastors should be held to a higher standard of conduct. It goes with the territory. If a guy can’t maintain that conduct then he shouldn’t be a pastor. Get rid of him before he destroys the church.
Church is serious stuff. This is not a Jesus themed business we’re running here. We need to stop copying the world’s ideas and stick with God’s Word. We may end up with fewer churches and fewer pastors, but something tells me that would be just fine.
Giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited
–2 Corinthians 6:3