Friday, April 9, 2010

Pyramids....belong in Egypt

Who “pastors” the “Pastors”?

Yes, that is indeed a very good question. If indeed it is the role of a “Pastor” to shepherd, teach, and serve as God’s chosen authority for the body of Christ, one might ask the question, “Who exactly is doing this for the “Pastor”? I've heard it said by many that God Himself is the “pastor’s” Pastor. “God is the head of the “Pastor” and the “Pastor” is the head of the church.” While that may sound splendidly spiritual, it unfortunately has little to no biblical support.

For the purpose of clarification, let’s look at an example of the typical hierarchical structure that exists in many of today’s modern churches. As you read through my descriptions, try and view this “structure” as a pyramid. Lots of folks at the bottom, less in the middle, and one lone fella on top. By the way, I have personally seen and been a part of many such structures several times myself. It goes something like this:

First, we start with the laymen or “laity” of the church. This group would represent most of the congregation in a typical church’s body. They come to receive what the leadership has prepared for them. Some may occasionally volunteer in various, menial tasks within the church, but most are happy just to warm a pew a couple of times a week. By the way, if this is representative of where you are in the “church” food chain, you are on the bottom and under everyone else’s authority...pretty much.

Next, we have our “lay leaders”. These would be your Sunday school teachers, committee members, small group leaders, etc. They are not part of the “professional” ministry team, but are responsible for much of the basic ministry that happens within the church. If you’ve ever heard of the old 20/80 analogy (20 percent of the congregation does 80 percent of the work), this group would certainly represent the blessed 20 percent. As a side note, I truly believe these are your real ministers within the body of Christ. Hard working, git-r-done folks!

After that, comes the esteemed “professional” ministers and the church staff. These folks are typically paid, although there are some who work as volunteers. The “professionals” are generally responsible for heading up the “major” ministries within the “church” such as children's, youth, and music ministry. Some are actually regarded as being “pastors” at least within their given areas of ministry, but they are all under the authority of the “Senior Pastor” (use caps for him).

Although the following group does not exist in all churches, most congregations do have something at least similar to a Board of “whatever” in place. The “whatever” could be elders, deacons, or like the ones I’ve been associated with, just plain old board “members”. These guys (not many women ever make it to this level...sorry gals!) are generally responsible for anything and everything having to do with the financial aspects of “church” life. They approve budgets and make the “big” decisions regarding how the money is spent that has been given to the church. Many boards have authority in some respect over the “Pastor”, but only in a business sense. Yeah, they can work to oust the guy if they don’t like him, but when it comes to “spiritual” authority, the “Pastor” is the man!

Finally, we come to the “Pastor”. In larger churches (or if he likes the way it sounds), he may be known as the “Senior Pastor”. It is the “Senior Pastor” who has been called by God and he alone has been given authority (by God) to be the head of the church. This is especially true in regards to spiritual authority. We are asked to “get behind” the “Pastor’s” vision for the church and follow his lead when it comes to ministry and how “church” should be “done”.

With that, let’s take a moment and try to put all this into perspective. If you are one of the following:

The laity
Lay leaders
Church staff
Board members

You are spiritually (and for the poor staff in a business sense...he’s the boss!) under the authority of the “Senior Pastor”.

Only one problem with that. Where exactly do you find such a notion in the bible?

Answer: Nowhere!

You may think I’m being a overly critical in my presentation of the bogus hierarchical structure that exists in today’s churches, know...for the most’s a true representation of the roles that exist!

Now, back to my original question. Who “pastors” the “Pastors”?

Well, that depends. If you buy into the above mentioned church structure. Your answer will most likely be God. God is the authority to which a “Pastor” is subject to.

If that is so, might I pose a different question?

If the “Pastor” is able to reside under the spiritual authority of God and God alone...why can’t the rest of us?

Why do we need a “spiritual CEO”?

Are we stupid, "unspiritual", or just plain lazy? Of course not!

By the way, according to the modern church’s usage of the term “pastor”, the only way a person could ever hope to become a “Pastor” is to be hired by a church……to be a “Pastor”. Cause when you quit, or are fired, you’re obviously no longer a “Pastor” (according to the modern church). You're just another, run of the mill Christian.

If that’s so, who’s authority would a former “Pastor” be under? See the logic? It’s foolishness to say that this man “chosen by God” only possesses authority over the “church” while holding an exalted position within the “church”. Lose the job, no authority. Did God strip it away?

Truth is, he NEVER had any more "God given" authority than you, me, or any other “run of the mill” Christian.

It’s time we dropped the middle man friends. The veil was torn into. Through Christ, we all have equal access to the Holy one. He alone is our ultimate authority and He alone is our Chief Shepherd. Yes, I'm quite aware the bible speaks of the elders as shepherds and of their "shepherding" the people, but it DOES NOT speak of a hired gun, one man show "Pastor". If your "church" doesn't have multiple "elders" leading the people, you don't have a biblical leg to stand on, so don't waste your time on pointless, feel good arguments. Our Father has given us His spirit to “bring us into all truth” and we are all called to live as brothers not “lording” power over each other.

As a side note: If you think I’m being a little harsh in using the term “lording”, try working for a “church”. The “Pastor” is the “boss” and most don’t waste any time in letting you know it! BUT don't blame the "Pastors". All the blame goes to the "church members" for allowing non biblical leadership structures to remain in place.

Does God use leaders and allow for leadership to exist within the body of Christ? Absolutely!

Does this leadership look anything like the man-contrived positions of authority that exist in the modern church? Absolutely...not!

Bottom line: Leave the false “pyramids” of “church” structure where they Egypt!