The 7 points Marc posted are great points within the framework of leadership and are fairly conclusive. These are traits that we do want within the framework of our Christian leaders.
1. Leaders who are orthodox and biblically literate
2. Leaders who can preach and manage well
3. Leaders who can lead
4. Leaders who know what organizational health looks like
5. Leaders who can relate
6. Leaders who can integrate
7. Leaders who survive
Mark Stevens argues that this are qualities our culture requires for leadership and are not the qualities we require for our church pastors. Instead he makes the observation that there are only 3 core ingredients that our church pastors must have.
- A Pastor who prays
- A Pastor who studies the scriptures, slowly and lovingly.
- A Pastor who cares for souls.
I totally agree. The pastor is not an administrator, though they may also have a gift of administration. The pastor is not a leader, though indeed leadership qualities are important. The pastor is not a manager, though they do require good people skills. The pastor doesn’t even have to be the person who opens and locks the church of a Sunday. The pastor doesn’t have to be the person who does the vacuuming or make the cups of tea. Though there are times when they will be required to do that.
The pastor is a praying person, who is in solid relationship with the Lord, who teaches Gods people to walk in relationship with each other and with God. The pastor is one who lives and breathes the responsibility of the caring of souls on a daily basis. It’s not a role. Its not a job. Its not a function. It’s a vocation of being. The pastor is a gift to the church from God.
God has called and equipped some to be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors / Teachers as gifts to the church. You cannot be an Apostle, if God has created you to be an Evangelist. You cannot be a prophet, if God has created you to be a pastor. And you can’t be a pastor if God has created you to be something else.
When I first become a Christian, an intercessor said to me, that she thought I had one of the fivefold ministry gifts on my life, but she wasn’t sure what. I thought in my heart how boring it would be to be a pastor. Lord, I cried in my heart, being a pastor is boring… make me a prophet. I prayed and fasted. I earnestly sought the Lord to make me into a prophet. And for six months or so, I asked the Lord to do this for me. Yet, I was asking out of my desires and not the Lords will for me. And yet gradually the Lord showed me that my heart was for pastoral care and ministry. It became a passion of mine. Yet its more than a passion, its a life style. Being a pastor is not a role or a function. It’s who you are. It comes out of who you are. It’s a gift.
I have a deep concern that the church in general gets this right. On a personal level, I have done a Diploma of Ministry, a Cert 1v in Chaplaincy and nearly finished a Degree in Ministry. I also hope to do further study within a Masters and perhaps a doctorate level within this framework of pastoral care.
For it’s my contention that within the context of the local fellowship, leadership has to come under the framework of pastoral care. And not pastoral care, come under the framework of leadership. For whenever church leadership comes under the framework of pastoral care, the care of people becomes paramount. People feel cared for. They know they are cared for. They know that they are valued. They know they are looked after. They know they are prayed for. And they know who they are within the framework of God’s plans and purposes. And the main goal is people. The main goal is the pastoral care of Gods people. And within this context, the people are the church.
Yet, the opposite happens if and when pastoral care, comes under the framework of leadership. Functionality becomes the main goal. Goals become more important than people. Administration becomes more important then people. God’s people become burnt out in the process of doing Church.
To be continued…