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Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by iasusxrist, Sep 17, 2009.
What have been your experiences?
To quote Adrian Monk: "It's a blessing . . . and a curse."
Could you be more specific?
Actually, could you be more specific. What are you looking for pros and cons about? What is it about pastoral ministry that you're wanting to know the good and bad of? It would take pages to go through pros and cons of being a pastor in general.
I am having a difficult time with that, Tom.
Let's say the top 5 generalities (i.e. not.. SUSAN SLAPPED ME ONE NIGHT.. but rather, WOMEN SLAP ME WHEN I PREACH! .. silly example.)
Will that work?
IF you can do anything else, do it.
I am a trained architect and I have tried other things than ministry, but frankly, I could not do anything but ministry. I did not look at pros and cons, I simply considered my ministry and got on with it. It is definitely a calling, otherwise, I would be an architect, the one thing I loved most. I say this after 60 odd years in ministry.
It's hard to answer generically because you're having to take personalities into account. That said, here are some:
*In a Baptist setting, you can be hired, fired, and HR'ed by people with one tenth your education and training. Kinda frustrating;
*Cultural demands have replaced Biblical expectations regarding your role, and I'd say that's getting more pervasive;
*The time demands are fierce. You are a full time pastor no matter what your status is. Whether you work solely at the church or whether you have two other jobs, the people expect you when they expect you, and if that's when you're on the clock at work, that's tough.
*There's never enough time and there's never a sense of finitude to your work. There's always more time you could have spent on the sermon, one more person you could have visited. And you go to bed exhausted Sunday night knowing you're starting all over again the next morning.
*You have the most important position in the world. I'd rather pastor the smallest church in the world than be President. I can do more change than he or she ever can.
*You're on the cutting edge of ministry and you work in the headquarters of the Southern Baptist convention - the local church;
* You have tools at your disposal that are the most powerful in all of humankind - the Word of God by the power of the Spirit of God
*If you are indeed called, then you're fulfilling a mandate, a calling...not just doing a job. And that's something you can't put a measuring stick next to.
More to come.....
I hope you didn't intend this the way it came out. To me it seems that you are implying that you are better than your congregation.
That's not even in the same zip code as how that was meant. It means what it says. A Baptist church is the only setting on earth where people with high school diplomas can hire and fire Ph.Ds whenever they wish. I've never met a pastor who didn't lament this, especially the ones that have been fired or forced to resign. It's not a question of better. It's a question of qualification and to some extent, justification. Are you saying that this is not a con, that it's a good thing this is such?
I know we can overdo the parallels with the business world, but consider that at my present secular job, the people who decide my salary and who hired, can fire, and will evaluate me have comparable ore greater education than me, and comparable or greater experience relative to me. They have done my job for years. They still do my job. This is not the case in the Baptist church. Those folks have never done my job and likely never will. But they will decide what my job is, what it's worth, and when I can do it, and can change this whenever and however they want based on no criteria or little else. That was all I was pointing out. As I said, I've yet to meet a pastor who has not lamented this and run into issues with this.
I'm just saying that the education of the congregation shouldn't be either a pro or a con. I don't understand why a pastor would lament that a person with a high school diploma has a vote on whether or not they retain their job. It's just never even crossed my mind that it would be a problem.
As a side note, my boss for the past 7 years or so does not have a college education. He's the best boss I've ever had and his having a college degree or not does not change that. I've had other managers that do have degrees and they've been much worse to work for and much less knowledgable about the field I'm in (computers, specifically programming). I'd much rather have my non-college educated boss deciding my fate at work than most of the college degreed managers I've seen around.
This is how I see it.
Of course, education is no reason to make you exempt from rebuke.
However, being educated in the word of God (double honor, especially those who labor in word and truth.) "should" mean that you know What to do better than others, and would follow it.
You're missing the broader point. You're getting hung up on sheepskins. The point is that pastors are costantly being evaluated by methods and measurements that are not fit (being compared to the Rick Warrens, or whomever; the three "b's"; growth...whatever. I don't know if you pastor or not. If you do, you likely know what I'm talking about. I promise you know pastors who do.
Of course not. But rebuke for what? That's the point. Often, congregations will use unScriptural measurements to measure a Scriptural office/practice. That is a con. How people can say it's not is beyond me.
Right, Tom. That's the same point I was making, in my "last" line.
Yes, that's a con. My whole point is that a person's knowledge of Scripture does not necessarily relate to the level of their education. I've met many, many people who have great Scriptual knowledge and not much formal education.
Agreed. But I never referenced their knowledge of Scripture. Implicitly, the fact that Scriptural measurements are not used is part of my assertion, I suppose.
Maybe you've never had one of them say to you, "I don't care what the Bible says, we've never done it that way before! See ya, preacher."
And a person with a college degree can't say that same thing? Why do you think that only a non-degreed person would say such a thing?
I understand what you are saying, Matt. But maybe I can clear what we're saying. If you came to me as a computer expert who had worked in the field for many years, and told me what I needed to do about my pc or lap top. I would listen to you because that's your chosen field of expertise. Sure I may have had a computer for a long time, but it's not my area.
As a pastor, I have had 30 years experience in leading a local church, preaching biblical sermons and organizing a group of believers. So I would expect the same kind of respect and earned credibility in ministry. No one is saying a lay person isn't equal spiritually or has no right to an opinion or certainly not that the pastor is always right. Just that we have some expertise in church life.
Obviously in baptist churches, the church has the final say, but winning a vote doesn't mean someone is right on either side.
Now, what you just said, I can understand and accept. What I took exception to was that it was only because someone didn't have a degree that was the problem.
When you just address the con from a "I have more experience in spiritual matters than most of my congregation" angle, I'm good with it .