Of the five ministry types – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher – it is the pastor who has been most successful in securing the pulpit, the power, and the paycheck. And this has created many negative consequences….
Often the pastor is not a pastor. He is called Pastor, he is recognized as the pastor, but he does not have the calling (or gifting) of pastor. Perhaps more often than not the pastor is not a pastor.
Those with the calling of pastor – not the occupation of pastor – are, mostly, pew persons. These seem to be easy going people, soft spoken, gentle, listeners – caring more about you than themselves. It is not in their genes to be an administrator (which is the chief role of the employed ‘pastor’, especially in a large church). You are their concern, you are their friend, and they are your prayer intercessor. These people probably have no need or heart to be the director/shepherd/teacher of the local assembly.
Many evangelists fill the post of pastor, having turned from their calling to a position more lucrative. This way they get to stay home with wife instead of travelling from city to city, and be more directly involved in the children’s upbringing. The support the local evangelist should get he doesn’t get because Pastor Whoever gets it. So he becomes Pastor Whoever. “This results in less people spending their eternity with Jesus in heaven.”
And what is true for the evangelist is true for the apostle. And the prophet. And the teacher.
Builders also covet top position in the assembly. Without that pulpit and that power and that paycheck they have no hope of scratching their itch to build things – spiritual things and etcetera things. Weekly he uses the instrument of enthusiasm to whip the people into fulfilling his religious ambitions. Builders impress us with their accomplishments, but the price of those trophies can be a church-full of depleted evangelicals, relationally distant from the Lord Jesus.
The builders have to compete against the controllers who, like the builders, need the pulpit to gratify their addiction. And also competing are the intellectuals, those who dazzle the ordinary with their ability to express with finesse, to wield words with the agility of the circus juggler. Also competing are lovers of money; there’s big money to be had for those sufficiently ambitious and greedy.
The true pastors who make it to the top are often too burdened with a hundred church matters to pastor. So they attempt to shepherd from the pulpit. Like a shoe store that carries one size of shoe, the pastor has one message for all sizes and shapes of needs and questions.
A mother has a mother’s heart, a father has a father’s heart, but many (most?) ‘pastors’ simply do not have a shepherd’s heart. They are not callous, but unequipped. They may try to fake it but it ain’t working.
Christianity would be in much better shape if christianity outlawed the salary.