Wednesday, February 14, 2007

CEO or Dr. of the Soul

There is an excellent article in Leadership magazine entitled Curing Souls: the Forgotten Art by Eugene Peterson. Peterson, faimed for his paraphrase of the Bible called The Message, contrasts the institutional CEO mentality of ministry with one that is curing the soul. Probably the best insight is that if I count my job is to solve organizational and personal problems then there is no end to doing that. When do we take the time to seek God during the trying parts of life if we are continually fixing it ourselves?

Growing up in rural Missouri, Theron McCloud was our minister of the gospel. He spent a lot of time visiting the sick and shut-ins in the community. He was not a CEO. Our people could not relate to a CEO since most of the people were farmers, farmer's wives, people who worked with hands but lived in town. Yes there were some business owners and such in the congregation, but sophisticated organizational structures and programs would have been smaltzy. Instead Theron spent his time caring for people not the organization. Sure he was a leader, but that was something he did as a mere matter necessity and not one of definition.

I met a pastor a few years back who exemplified this sort of mentality but he worked in Plano, TX. Plano is not rural Missouri. I was in a shopping mall there and I did not see one pair of cowboy boots. Plano is the home of many technology companies. But still this pastor spent much of his time eating lunch with parishoners. Sure he had to order the salad so as to not expand his middle beyond a healthy girth. Still yet he was taking time with people. It looks a little different in Plano than rural Missouri, but I still think it is possible for a pastor to spend his time discipling the members of the congregation rather than running an organization.
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