On new Pastors and the change they may bring

JP: Good read on the subject of support for the new Pastor. A Pastor writes to his former church on their calling of a new pastor.

An Open Letter to Our Friends at Scofield Memorial Church

Excerpt:

I am very passionate about that which I want to lay before you.

First, please just let this man be himself. So many of you gave me that great honor, and for this I am thankful. Do not hesitate to give this gift yet again. Whoever this man is, he is not Matthew St. John or Randy Youngling or Neil Ashcraft or Harlin Roper, et cetera. He is who God has made him to be. And if he is indeed who you have called to Scofield Memorial Church, then you should rest assured that he is the man God wants to have at the helm of that great ship. God could call one from among thousands of others. But God is calling this one man. Let him, therefore, just be himself; the one God has anointed for the task.

Secondly, should you compare him whatsoever to me or to any others who have gone before, do so only by pointing out those many ways in which he surpasses any of us in character, wisdom, vision, skill, and faith. In other words, only edify him. Never should there be the need to elevate any of us predecessors–our choices, approaches, demeanors, et cetera–over this new man. Avoid saying to him, “Well, you know, when Pastor Matthew was here he always did it this way,” or, “When Pastor Roper was here we did this thing.”

Who cares. The fact of the matter is Pastor Matthew or Pastor Roper or the others are not now at the helm. Their seasons are done, and it is exceedingly demoralizing to constantly be told what the other guy did. I have no doubt this man will hear enough of the church’s history and precedents, and that he will have the wisdom necessary to assess how to look forward for the reputation of the Master. If he asks about this thing or that, give an honest answer, even if it puts me or the others in a light that is not especially pretty. But whatever you do, please do not be constantly forcing the man to wear our shoes.

Which does lead to a third point: ideally the man will bring significant change to the church–change that positions the church for a vibrant future, causing it to be all the more influential in the new reality in which the church, indeed any church, finds itself. Many of the older methods cannot work today. Methods and models that were acceptable even five years ago, or ten, may no longer be appropriate now. I beg you to empower the man to cast such a radical vision for Scofield Memorial Church that it would place this great ship on the high seas, moving fast and furiously, with sails full of the Spirit’s mighty wind.

HT: Pastor Larry Rogier

More: Another take on the same topic: (Article has a cute cartoon. It is copyrighted so to view it you must click through).

One Baptist Church in Ten?

Excerpt:

The pastor is at his desk, addressing a group of stern-faced official-looking church members in his office. He says, “I’m sorry to hear that the church is unhappy with my leadership. But you need to know, the Lord did not send me to make the church happy. He sent me to make it healthy and Him happy.”

I don’t have the money to send that out to every church on the planet, but if I could, I would.

Because, while I don’t know about other denominations, I strongly believe there is not one Southern Baptist church in ten that catches the distinction. The congregations and particularly most of the leaders really believe the pastor’s job is to make them happy. To be sure, they wouldn’t phrase it like that. If asked, most would say something like, “His job is to serve the Lord and shepherd the flock. But when he’s doing a good job, the people are happy. If they’re not happy with his leadership, he’s failing somewhere.”

As though the mood of the congregation was the barometer for gauging the effectiveness of the pastor’s ministry.

Show me that one in the Bible, and I’ll show you a dozen places where the “congregation” was unhappy with the ministry of the Lord Jesus Himself and later of His apostles. In fact, Jesus went so far as to say, “Beware when all men speak well of you.” (Luke 6:26) Remember that the next time someone compliments their pastor by saying, “Everyone adores him.”

Changing the way God’s people think is not an easy task. But that surely is one of the assignments of those called by the Lord to preach His word.

We are killing our churches and ruining our pastors by our warped expectations of these men of God.

Final comments:

  • We need to pray diligently for our Pastoral staff
  • They face stresses and challenges that we perhaps cannot understand
  • Previous blog post with a related thought: Are you equipped?
  • AND Appreciating our Pastors
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