Saturday, August 2, 2008

Professionalizing of the Pastoral Ministry

Thanks to Scot McKnight at for sharing these posts. I found this article on "Professionalizing of the Pastoral Ministry" to be stunning in that it includes many themes I have heard a lot of people telling me, but written for the first time in a clear and concise article. And it points to a way out. I’d be especially interested in comments by clergy and current or former “church leaders.” I included a few excerpts below, written (or quoted) by David G. Dunbar, PhD, President and Professor of Theology at Biblical Seminary, to give you a flavor:

"We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. . . . Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake." - John Piper

“The NT presents the church as an organism comprised of many diverse spiritual gifts, all needed for the healthy function of the body. For much of the history of the church this picture of unity-in-diversity has been threatened by a clergy-laity distinction which suggests a qualitative distinction between the ministerial class and the 'ministered-to' class. The modern turn toward professionalism only serves to increase the distance between these groups. Little wonder many pastors report that they are lonely, isolated, and without close friends.”

“Church members who view the gospel primarily as a promise to meet their felt needs will find it hard to conceive of pastors as less than professional providers of spiritual goods and services.”

You can read the whole article on Missional Journal (also linked to this blog) at:

Peggy's "Freedom Dances" compliments the above nicely where she writes, "When hierarchy uses power to compel, stifling freedom and courage, it, um, misses the mark. When the Church rejects the gloriously creative responsibility that accompanies freedom in Christ by grasping for the security (irresponsibility?) that comes with hierarchy or power, the Bride of Christ becomes quadriplegic…She cannot get up and dance with the Groom. The members of the Body are just not properly connected to each other—they have not allowed the Holy Spirit to inspire and empower them to dance together."

Blessings, Steve

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