Formerly Known as “The Pastor”

In a post entitled, The People Formerly Known As “The Pastor”, John Frye writes the following:

There are thousands of us. You probably know many of us now as insurance sales agents, real estate agents, or doing anything besides “church.” We started with idealism about being voices for the kingdom of God and soon realized we became mutated forms of USAmerican business leaders. Even Jesus became a CEO. We traded immersion in the Bible for hyped-up seminars and books about good management, strong leadership and slick public relations. We learned that the size of our church parking lot mattered more than the size of your hearts for God…

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor discovered somewhere in “doing church” that they were being paid as surrogates for the congregation’s spirituality… People seem to tell others more about their pastor(s) than about Jesus, their Savior. Of course, this made pastors feel good and loved and valued. Then it dawned on us, we were feeling good for all the wrong reasons…

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor wrestled with conflicting ego issues. Some felt the rush of power over people. Some even said that in order to get to God, you had to go through us… We were “the Lord’s anointed.” Don’t touch us. Being charged with the eternal well-being of souls is heady stuff. And, sadly, it went to our heads. We became commanders rather than servants. We liked the feeling of bossing people around…in the name of the Lord, of course… On the other hand, others of us were scared to death of you. You gave us our paycheck. You gave us benefits. Unknown to us, you called us to your church in order to get your way… We became people-pleasers at the cost of our own dreams. Eventually the commanders among us got kicked out of the church and the fearful among us got scared out. Selling shoes looked mighty appealing.

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor ran up school bills, too, going to college and seminary. It’s costly learning Hebrew and Greek these days. Our peers in the “market place” were making twice, sometimes 3 and 4 times the salary we were offered. We were told to live by faith… We officiated at very high-priced weddings and worried how we would get our own kids married. Spring Break meant Disney-World for you and your kids and a trip to see relatives for us…

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor were angry people. Not that you would know it. Our spouses and children knew it. We lived in glass houses. Our kids had to be angels while yours were smoking pot and having sex. And, God forbid, that anyone in the church say anything negative about your kid(s)… You wanted to drop them off in a very safe environment with very safe people and then you could forget all about them and do your church thing. You would listen to “Focus on the Family” and then pay church staff to focus on your kids.

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor began to smell something rotting in the whole “church” thing. Only once in the New Testament is the term for the service of pastor used as a noun (Ephesians 4:11-12)… Having accepted a corrupted image and Christendom model of “the pastor,” we finally began to see that corruption infiltrating the church. In its current expression, “the pastor” certainly isn’t biblical. And don’t get some of us started on the injustice of limiting the equal status of women in ministry.

These were the highlights for me. You can read the whole post here. I love this because John is still serving as a pastor… which makes him a better man than me. Even after all he has written here, he still is in the thick of things. Good for him (I think). Oh, but there is one thing he told me he wouldn’t do… and that’s give away a car. But he did say he’d have me a free bagel ready if I ever visited his church.

5 thoughts on “Formerly Known as “The Pastor””

  1. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I applaud your honesty. Thank you for directing me to the whole “People Formerly Known As..” conversation. I’ve been reading it with interest and formulating my own reply.I’ve included your blog on my first foray into the blogosphere. You have been one of my blogging inspirations. Come visit if you like.

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