Saturday, March 15, 2008

What Should You Know About Your Pastor?

[From Mark Beeson by Mark Beeson]

I'm pondering the perceptions of people in the Church.

When faithful followers of Christ listen to their pastors, watch their lives and see their examples, they expose themselves to massive doses of spiritual radiation. The searing example emitted by our spiritual leaders transmits more than a tinge of fissionable material into our psyches. Our leaders mark us.

After watching your pastor for years, and listening to hundreds of heartfelt sermons, do you have a sense of your pastor's core values? Have you gained a sense for your pastor's convictions? Would you say you know the general direction your pastor is headed?

Such knowledge requires defacto context and background. Freeze-frame any moment in time and we'll be incapacitated; we'll be unable to properly speak of that pastor's direction, velocity or momentum. (Listening to one isolated sermon, on one weekend, makes it virtually impossible to adjudicate the pastor's beliefs, opinions or values. Experiencing one message, in one moment, limits your understanding and is demonstrably inadequate for comprehensive assessment.)

Assuming you've listened to your pastor for years (whether you relate to your pastor on a personal level or not) do you have a sense of your pastor's principles, ethics and priorities? Whether you agree or not, do you know your pastor's position on core issues?

The question is not, "Do you agree?" The question is, "Should you know?"

Every Christian will not agree with their pastor on every issue. I'm sure many people at GCC disagree with me on a number of ancillary topics. That's both positive and strengthening to our ministry. Complementary viewpoints enable congruency and alignment if we value each other enough to listen, learn and work together.

God created different members of One Body and every component Christian cooperates for the glory of God's story.

We're not the same.

We collaborate with people holding divergent views and opinions.We sometimes partner with leaders looking for consequences we don't prioritize. We often gain ground as we learn from people holding different values, religious convictions and political positions.

We're better together.

Since the day God gave Adam and Eve a team and partnership, humanity has enjoyed the strength and progress enabled by complementary gifting. Different roles and divergent views make rich the journey of life. Differences offer opportunities unknown in the homogeneous puree of communities pounded into conformity.

We don't have to agree on everything to make progress on important things.

The question is, "Have you the requisite contextual information to know what your pastor thinks about important things?" If not, hold your tongue. You don't know enough to speak.

Salacious lies, spin, and scandalous innuendo may diminish more ministries and undermine more pastors than we imagine. The rumormonger verbalizing snap judgments based on partial information is a bane on our existence and anathema in the Church. The scriptures condemn gossip.

Be judicious; think before you speak about someone, especially someone leading a church.

What do you think?
  • Can people learn the mission, vision and values of their pastor?
  • How long does that take?
  • Does it matter?
  • Do you care?

A pastor's direction and core values, manifest in their life-mission and evidenced in their ministry record, are important to me. How about you?

1 comment:

Karl Laws said...

I have learned that God wants to remove the bolder from my eye before I tend to the eyes in the dust of others. Each day is a new day and each day it seems the Father is pointing to another bolder in my eye. I may never have time to remove the speck of dust from the eyes of others and question if I truly should attempt. This I know, Christians should never poor mouth one another. There is nothing to be gained and much to be lost.