i am here taking a moment to enjoy a cup of coffee, listening to The Civil Wars outstanding album, Barton Hollow, (thanks kyle). lately i have been thinking more and more about the role of pastors in churches. whats odd is that the topic seems to have presented itself to me, its not something i brought up myself. i have had several readings, podcasts, blog posts, articles all seem to "fall into my lap" on the subject. its those kind of things that are hard to ignore. i can can pretend like this one article was "interesting but who cares" and this blog post "is probably important for someone to read" but when its several of them, all at once, from many different directions, well, God, you have my attention.
i have been thinking about churches, and what the purpose of them is, how they function, what is the need being met for individuals, for communities, for the collective church congregation, for the world both near to us and across the world? its pretty accepted that the "mega-church" model is not the ideal model, and most of the mega-churches have found issues with building community and developing disciples because of a disconnect with in the congregation. many of these churches have seen the value in getting people into smaller community groups/small groups/accountability groups whatever you want to call them. i know for myself, the small group is very valuable. i attend a church with an average attendance of about 1200-1300 each week. that is pretty large, but its not overwhelming. i also believe that the leadership in place have done a good job of creating an environment and attitude of welcoming and openness.
i think that as churches have grown we have seen a shift in the role of a pastor. some of it is good, but a lot is not. the pastors are forced to take on a level of "business" that to me seems to be a big distraction. part of the problem is that like with just about everything, financial issues are present. and it falls on pastors to have to deal with them. for many larger churches there are other people involved in the financial areas. we also have the fact that for many of these large churches, they for better or worse have huge buildings to deal with. there are many issues that come into play; making the best use of the space, using it in the proper way to benefit the community but also make sure the building stays in good shape and on and on.
pastors need to be able to focus on discipleship. that is the conclusion that i have come to. that needs to be one of the main focus points. the fact is that this is a generation, a place in time, where the focus is no longer what can i (a member of the congregation) do for my church, but rather what can the church do for me. i think we have lost it, the point. we have forgotten, gotten away from the idea that as a follower of Christ we are called to serve. we are no longer focused on ourselves. there are to many responsibilities that we need to be taking on within our church communities that are being left to staff, to pastors. to many of us have no idea what it means to be disciples anymore. i fear that we see "being a disciple" as something that isn't possible, its only for people who were directly connected to Jesus when he walked on earth. well, the fact is, as a believer, as a follower of Jesus, we are directly connected.
i am someone very intrigued by the rise of the home church movement. i see so much good that comes out of the community that is built in that, so much that can happen when people are committed to each other because they are committed to Jesus. that is what a small group is to me. that is why i enjoy it so much. i look forward to the journey the American church is on, i firmly believe that we, the American church, are on the cusp of a revival. i look forward to it...