Bishop and Christian*, February 2016

What is a pastor for? I’ve been thinking about that a lot, lately. The answer is obviously of vital importance to me! I think much of the answer that a person might give depends upon expectations. One member of a congregation has certain expectations based on his experience with previous pastors. Another member might have expectations based on what she wants done in the future. One pastor has expectations based on good or bad experiences in the past; another has expectations based on what he’d like to see in the future. Insofar as they are found in the Scriptures, these expectations are not right or wrong in themselves.

But often the expectations of both pastors and congregations are based on abstractions or generic descriptions, rather than on particular contexts and specific people. Normally, when people are hired in the secular business world, it makes sense to identify a need and hire someone who can fill that space. That doesn’t always work well when it comes to pastors and congregations, because the Christian Church is based around a single need and a single solution: dying sinners in need of Christ, who is life.

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