“I believe a pastor must have a clear view of the mission and all else is done in light of that mission. He must take his flock in the exact same direction. Jesus had small “skirmishes” on the way to Calvary as we will between now and the day we die. Those skirmishes must be smaller battles making up the overall war winning strategy. I believe the pastor helps to guard against battles that don’t serve the war.” – Tally Clower
My friend Talley, who I am quoting above, says it really well. Talley captures the big picture nicely. It’s easy to major on the details of a larger campaign as the totality of pastoral ministry. Again, we will look at those “battles” and “skirmishes” in the context of the “overall war winning strategy” soon. But, as Talley so aptly puts it, the pastor must have a clear view of the mission so that all else is done in light of that mission.
Here we go. I’m laying my ace down now. What is the church’s mission that the pastor must have a clear view of so that the battles and skirmishes are fought rightly? It is the fame of Jesus in completing the task he left us called “The Great Commission.” In other words it’s the Gospel rightly proclaimed and heard in the work of the Gospel among every people group on the planet. Jesus is the only God, and he is to be worshiped by all nations on his planet. He is not a tribal deity so as to only focus on one’s local context.
The pastor’s primary aim of preaching must be Jesus’ person and work among all nations launched from their current locale. If pastors bypass the fame of Jesus globally for the upkeep of their local pastorate, they are short selling the Gospel. Period. I made the following statement Sunday from the context of Nehemiah, where we at TRCC have been studying:
“Pastoral compensation should be for the global work of God and not the upkeep of an organization designed to cater to the wants of comfortable people.” – Me
Pastors getting paid to keep up the local ministry with no PERSONAL stake in the global are pimping the Kingdom of God out to their paid boys and girls.
If a pastor has not and will not put his life on the line for the fame of Jesus among the unreached of the globe (by the way that is the proper definition of missions) he fails to be a pastor and is no more than a leader of a civic organization.
So, dialogue with me. The implications to this are astounding, and will be unpacked over the next few blogs. This may test the courage of some pastors and make some angry. So be it. Argue with Jesus if you want. Let the fun begin!
The Scriptures give us the job of a pastor very clearly. I’ll deal with some of the language used at a later point and talk about how those words are connected to the assumed role of the pastor that Paul makes when he addresses young Timothy and Titus as well as the assumed role Peter makes when he addresses elders in his letter.What is that assumed role? They assume we are following Jesus and know that role and mission well.
Remember, pastors are leading a culture of people inside a culture of people to a very clear and specific mission. If a pastor loses sight of the mission while managing the culture of people inside a culture of people he finds himself in danger of missing the point of leading Jesus’ people. If we are to be leading people, what make us different than a civic organization?
The church can’t simply be for the maintenance of morality because, frankly, there are some people outside of the church who are more moral than some pastors I know. They just have never tasted the transformation of the Gospel. General revelation has brought about a moral code that is fine just not enough to save. So, surely there is more to shepherding Jesus’ people than the maintenance of good behavior.
What are we to guard? What is our teaching supposed to point toward? What is the larger and grand mission we are to lead people toward? Here is a hint: it might get us killed. It is not safe at all. It is costly both in terms of finances and blood. It requires a different goal in church budgeting. It defies passing the buck to other groups. It requires personal engagement. Please post some comments on what Paul and Peter are assuming we know from following Jesus.
I’m continually evaluating myself with this question. I suppose it’s possible that I take what I believe my calling in life is a bit too seriously, although I’m a very relaxed person and can be accused of being too loose and perhaps too free. Sort of a paradox, you could say.
However, when I read the text of Scripture, I find instruction on who and who should not be a pastor and what that pastor’s job is in relation to the group of people they are supposed to lead toward that group’s ultimate mission.
Notice that the pastor’s job is related to the group being led but also related to the group’s ultimate mission. In other words, the pastor’s job is multi-layered. The pastor must lead a group of people and their particular dynamic and culture within a particular culture and that group of people has an ultimate mission that is a given or at least should be a given.
That already feels overwhelming and I’m in need of evaluation.
The role of pastor must be moving a group of people with it’s own particular issues inside a larger population with it’s own issues that press in on the smaller group being led toward a specific mission.
The role is not particularly wide but it is very complex and requires some backbone and thick skin. So, what is a pastor? What is a pastor’s job?
Brad Hankins and I finished out training on hosting a course titled “Perspectives on the world Christian movement” yesterday. I took this course in Seminary and it changed the trajectory of my world regarding how church is done. If you want your life to count for something far beyond yourself, then you should take this course. We will be offering it beginning January 2011. Check out this video and let me know what you think.
I really can’t believe that Gabriel is 9 years old today. It was Fort Worth, TX. Two weeks early. Early morning, and Gabriel decides he’d just come on into the world. Jenn labored hard for 7 hours and it was determined that there was a problem, so our doctor ordered a c-section. Sure enough the cord was around his neck and causing some issues. However, by God’s good providence, Gabriel Jolly was born.
I’m thankful for my 3 sons. Father has graced me with them and we give thanks today for Gabriel on his birthday.