Is less Pastoring better?

Is less pastoring better? is my opinion about the great need for MORE pastoring of our people instead of less pastoring, less interaction with people’s problems. I read an article named, 4 Starter Ideas for the Care and Treatment of an Unhealthy Church, and in it, it mentions the growing idea that less pastoring is somehow better than more. (I don’t think the author is in favor of that position).

From the article, he says that some things just don´t work to fix the problems.

  • The pastor stops being the primary caregiver
  • The people do the work of ministry
  • The church trains the people who are here to reach out to the people who aren’t here
  • More time, energy and money is spent on ministry than maintenance
  • No hand-holding from the pastor

So let´s examine each of this issues. The author of the article says these are all good things if the church is healthy, and if it is not, and it is trying to get there, caution should be exercised before they jump in too quickly in these things.

1. The pastor stops being the primary caregiver

The issue is that the world and Satan wants to eliminate pastors and their work altogether. They don´t think it is necessary for people to have spiritual guidance. But let´s examine this in the light of the Bible.

2 Chronicles 18:16 Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace.

Ezekiel 34:5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.

God sees the state of being ¨scattered¨as the children of God. What does that mean? Very simply, God’s children are all over the face of the planet. Being physically separate and distant one from another is not the idea then. What is the idea then? Very simply, being organized and working for the will and work of God as God’s children should be.

John 10:12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

You see, the problem is not a pastor leading and caring for the sheep. The lack of that is the problem. But what is a problem is that there are wolves among us, and to be truthful, pastors who are cowards and will not pay the personal sacrifice in their own lives in order to service God’s flock. The problems boil down to wolves who devour God’s work, and cowardly hirelings that will not do what needs to be done as God see things.

Jeremiah 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Jeremiah 23:2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

God will deal strongly with the wolves. Make no mistake about that.

Equally strongly God will deal with the hirelings. He will make an accounting with them. Cowardice is a sin. Why? Are there not strong foes and dangers out there that should make us afraid? Yes they exist. But the promise of God is that God will be with us and work through things with us. That is if we are not afraid or cowards, that we believe in the promises of God and power of God to fulfill His promises. Cowardice is very simply not fully believing and living in the light of God’s promises. We stop short because we don’t have sufficient faith. God judges us as sinners because we stop short, because we are cowards.

2. The people do the work of ministry

The author of the article says that you shouldn’t coddle a church, but that you shouldn’t push it overly so. I disagree here with the author. I think you should both coddle your church and push it.

What is the problem then? Very simply, pastors except their churches to be favorites. A favorite child or spoiled child does not have parental expectations that he should fulfill what is normal for a child his age and with his abilities. They are “given a pass” on their obligations and duties. How many pastors refuse to pressure their people to witness, to pray, to sacrifice of their lives, energies, time, and money? Those objectives, duties, obligations are not the pastor’s objectives to lay on the people or to give them a pass on it. Those are God’s commandments, and we are not doing anybody a favor for giving them a pass on them.

On the other hand, some pastors seem to be cruel taskmasters. This is also wrong. The flock God has given each pastor is still “God’s kids”, children of the King of Kings, so we have to be careful in how we deal with them.

While the church should have tasks, obligations and duties, those things should not be confused with busy work. In elementary school, it is sometimes seen that one student in the classroom that finishes their work quickly, and is constantly “bothering” the teacher with “more” to do. The teacher assigns the student “busy work” which fulfills the student’s desire to be active, but really serves no real purpose other that to get that irritating student out of her hair.

There is no reason to make people come to the church building every day of the week. Some pastors pressure their people that the church building is where they should they loyalty to God. No. Everyday, everywhere they are normally, they should live a good Christian life and show a good testimony.

In many of these demands by bad pastors, the congregation is simply there to be an audience for other people who are doing something. Viewers and not themselves doers.

Good pastors realize that their people have personal lives apart from worshiping the pastor and his church. Should they come on occasion to the church? Yes. Should they be worshiping the church and its programs and pastor? No. They learn at church to practice during the week what they have learned. It is as if these pastors don’t want them to have a life apart from him and his church. The shift between God and his people to the pastor and his people is key here. Very simply, things get mixed up in the pastor’s head, and that is the problem.

3. The church trains the people who are here to reach out to the people who aren’t here

Note the logic here. The pastor pulls people out of a normal ordinary life that has regular interactions with other non saved people in the community in order for them to organize under the pastor’s direction (micro-managing really) in order to go out and witness. Why don’t they just witness at ball practice for their kids, etc in the first place? Because the pastor has to organize and control all these forces.

What seems a really big problem in Christianity is the idea that pastors are the dictators of Christianity. Only their understanding and take on things is what matters. God can never speak through the Bible, His word, to individuals that are not pastors, guiding them to serve God without direct oversight, initiation, organization, and execution by the church and the pastor.

Philip was a deacon in his church, and he just was out somewhere and saw somebody, and he witnessed to him. The church probably didn’t know about this until he brought it up as a praise in the church at a later date. There is life, a spiritual life, with every true born again Christian, and this life is not dependent on a pastor or church to exist. The pastor and the church facilitates or helps that life grow, but the life doesn’t come from being a member of a church or having a personal pastor. It comes from that persons salvation relationship with God.

God orders pastors and churches to equip the saints and to edify them so that they can better do the work of God, but the force of living spiritually comes through a person’s relationship with Jesus, not his church nor pastor. We must always make that distinction. In cults and abusive churches, the life force of the group comes through the charismatic personality of the pastor, the leaders. One of them leaves or dies or goes to jail, the entire movement is brought to its knees until another charismatic personality takes over. That is not how it is in God’s church. That is a cult, an aberration of grossness against the personality and character of God. We are to worship God, not men. If you do not understand this, just read your Bible, and see the bad leaders of Israel that destroy God’s people by their self worship. This is Satanic in the end analysis. Satan wants us to worship men (or fallen angels) instead of God.

4. More time, energy and money is spent on ministry than maintenance.

People have problems. That is obvious. God is here to fix their problems. That is so very true. But there has to be a balance between ministering to others, and fixing your own problems. In fact, the very activity of helping others will in itself be a spiritual activity that will help fix your own problems.

The view of the church is to fulfill the will of God as to ministry, reaching the world, solving individuals problems with Scripture. God’s way of doing things.

As Christians, we need to understand that spiritual work in the fields of the Lord is exactly what puts our own spiritual life in order.

5. No hand-holding from the pastor.

For a church to be healthy, it has to have healthy members and leaders. At the same time, pastors cannot do all the work for their members, and they cannot throw all the pastor’s work load on them either.

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