Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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The word “pastor” (shepherd) is used once in Paul’s letters to the churches as a noun and is joined with the word teacher such that the idea is presented of shepherding through teaching (Eph 4:11). Paul uses the word overseer once (1Tim 3:1) (the KJV translators erroneously added “the office of” to overseer). Paul uses the word elder twice making it synonymous with overseer. The idea of a pastor as a teacher is strengthened as Paul cites “being apt to teach” as a requirement for an overseer.

The idea of a pastor as a “preacher” is commonly held. However, in the bible to preach was to proclaim and more within the purview of an evangelist. The bible describes those who would oversee as selected or chosen by one who could insure that what was entrusted was to “faithful men”. The idea of seminary certification today is of convenience more than a biblical mode;. I asked a seminary teacher once why so many of their graduates were squirrely. He said that they could only consider classroom performance in giving a graduation certificate. Their home church was supposed to be responsible for anything else..

The classroom / lecture format of seminary is largely responsible for the lecture / audience format of most church services. This format was also influential in the formation of the public school system. One of the deficiencies of both church and school is the tendency to inhibit maturity and create dependency. I once observed a congregation leaving church only to observe an approaching thunderstorm. Everyone returned to the church to ask the pastor what they should do.

A friend who had been a drummer in a rock group once shared an observation that lead guitarists and singers who were subjected to intense and constant praise from an audience often came to believe themselves superior. One might see where pastors could be subject to the same corruptive effects of flattery.

The power dynamics of groups can result anywhere from a pastor dictator to a pastor bullied by powerful members of the congregation. The mechanical nature of organizational systems can result in a pastor almost being a prisoner of the system he is trying to administer. Sadly, most measure pastoral success as how well the machine can be kept running. How different it would be if pastoral success was measured by how much like Christ each church member was becoming (Eph 4:11-13).

In addition to the arrested development of church members, a pastor is often inhibited in his own growth. Lacking the freedom to question and grow himself, many pastors can become almost Pharisaical  (pride, rule setting, superficial) in their administration of a church

Institutions and systems run by their own inertia and can be impervious to any attempts to institute changes. Those seeking to question, learn, and grow may have to do so with an older wiser Christian who can take the time to instruct them individually. Christianity was always supposed to be about relationships, us with God and each other. A pastor may have a sincere desire to help those members of his church but be limited because of tools at his disposal.



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