Thursday, December 10, 2009

Model of Ministry

Ever notice that ministry is one of those jobs that has many competing models for what the core duties are? It seems even people otherwise unconcerned with church feel they have a pretty good idea what the pastor's work week should look like. In one of my classes we were asked to talk about somebody who had mentored us. I thought about a retired pastor in my home church in Missouri, Brother Fike. He gave me a fairly simple model of ministry. Preach the Word and care for the flock. The more I read and hear other models I think I keep coming back to this simple model. Some of the other models have been propsed to me and sometimes led me off the path of shepherding those under my care.

Other Models

Pastor as CEO - This one is appealing since you get to have the dignity of a leader in the business community. You get to read all those leadership books and attend those seminars that business leaders do. Also, people in your congregation know how to relate to the role. Unfortunately, though all people in ministry must exercise leadership, it is really not that kind of leadership. Innovation is often just window dressings in ministry. Leadership in ministry is more about helping people to grow in faith rather that building a healthy enterprise. Yes, of course they are not mutually exclusive but focusing on the CEO model can be a real distraction from shepherding God's flock.

Pastor as Counselor - All pastors are counselors. It comes with sinply being with people, mourning with the flock in their sorrows and applying the Word to both individuals and the group. Pastors have done this since the begining of the church. Modern pastor sometime take the role of counselor from the secular playbook. When that happens that preaching of the Word takes a backseat to counseling sessions.

Pastor as Cerimonial Leader - No doubt wedding, funerals, and innvocations community events are a part of the job. These can be great times of meeting people but they can also be a distraction from true ministry of the Word and prayer.

Pastor as Lawyer - I have actually seen some lay people get caught up in this too. It seems that there are a number of people who enjoy mastering church polity and showing other they know more about church procedures. It is a neseccity to govern the church with fairness. Over emphasis on church polity probably shows there are other areas that need examining.

Pastor as Shepherd - This is my model I got from Brother Fike. Feed the sheep by preaching the Word. Care for the sheep by personally spending time with each one.
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