Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is Pastoral Resignation the New Fad?

I tweeted this earlier today: "So many Pastors are resigning! I have lots of feelings about this. In a tweet, I think the reason is the office, not the church. Blog later."  Now, allow me to share my thoughts. 


(These are not my comprehensive thoughts on this topic.  I have way more to say, especially from my personal experience, but that still needs time.)


I am starting to wonder if Pastoral resignations are becoming the new fad? When I resigned to follow God in a new direction, I knew of NO other Pastor by name that was leaving for the same reason. Then came Francis Chan.  Man, did I feel validated.  Even though I made my move before him. ;-) Then came a few others. Then Rob Bell a few weeks ago.  Yesterday, I read about Shaun King.  Each of us having stepped out of the Pastorate to pursue something more biblical, natural, discipling, smaller, whatever, whatever.


Meanwhile, many rebels exist! Maybe some of the guys I mentioned, maybe not.  But they are out there.  The traditional church hating, organized church opposing, book and blog writing, vocal opposers of church as it's done in most of the west. In my opionion, many of them are rebellious, hurt and acting immaturely, but they also have a deep and storng heart for Chirst and his Mission.


That said, I think that in light of the increasing Pastoral resignations, people will begin to think that these guys (myself included) are mad at the church building or the people in it.  But I do not believe this is totally the case.


Though they may not have the mind to name it or the courage to admit it, I believe that the pain and frutration is not with the function of the church as much as the brokennes of the office.  The role of the Pastor (as most of us in western organized church approach it) can be:

  • Unfair to the poor guy or gal in charge of everything.  What a weight to carry! It can be so exhausting!! Trust me. Unless attendance and offering are high, then all is well that week. 
  • Unfair to the rest of the people in the church who have their Bilical status unintentionally downgraded by a system many years old.  Ministry that was supposed to be ours becomes his and theirs.
  • Unfair to Jesus.  He wanted to lead.  He wanted to have main stage.  He wanted to be the man!  So much for that idea. 
  • Unbiblical. Other than Ephesians 4, find me one place in the Bible you find the word Pastor. And I do NOT believe that what we are doing is what Ephesians 4 meant. 
  • Expensive!  Expensive for the church. Yet, if it is threatened or changed, the Pastor now has to freak out at the thought of losing his job! Let me leave it there for now.  
  • Confusing.  After what we see and read in the New Testament about preisthood of all believers, the zillion one-anothers and the mutual edification and sharing, it leaves people confused..."am I supposed to do all this stuff in the Bible or let Pastor handle it?" (after all, it's why we pay him)
  • Out of style! It may have worked in Christendom, but I am telling you now that this model/office is not gonna sustain like it has in this post-Christendom era!
  • Counter-Kingdom. The church must always be opposite and distinct from the systems of this world.  If businesses have CEOs and Governements have Preidents, the church must find the opposite essence of the Kingdom from which to function.  It must not look like anything else we see around us.  
  • And then, you have chuches like our home church who we love deeply.  Becuase of the nature of the office, and the extreme importance placed on it, an entire commuity of faith gets tossed and turned several times in a row because 1 or 2 or 3 Pastors (people) leave the equation.  Becaue they were "Pastors" it carries big pain and big implication.  Are you telling me that this is what God has in mind for His church....that they should be so centered around one man that the whole thing goes whacko when he leaves? And are you telling me that a community of believers cannot discern together and experience Christ together without "the man" in the house?  Really?  


Final thought: What I am trying to say is that I think that more blame is placed on the church than it deserves.  I think that the OFFICE of PASTOR as we hold it is the far more broken piece of the equation. And I am not saying any of this is the Pastor's fault!  Or the church's fault! Fault belongs years and years back...if anywehere. 


Final claims:

1. I know this post is going to ruffle some feathers. Send me your thoughts in the spirit of respectful dialogue and let's learn from each other. 

2. I am not saying I am totally right here or even that I am set in this thinking.  I disagree with myself about somthing every day.

3. I have been out of the Pastorate for almost a year and in that time have attempted to be very respectful of the office and sensitive to the people we lead. But it is time for me to open my heart and journey up more.

4. I do believe strongly in leadership!  I am one.  I also believe that the church needs the role of Pastor (maybe I will blog later about what I think a Pastor ACTUALLY is), Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher and Apostle...all functioning and all edifiying the body!  It is a beautiful design.  Just wished we lived into it.  God had a great idea!

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