Friday, August 11, 2006

Little Popes

In reading the information from the last entry, my mind started working. (that happens from time to time) They are all good points but # 7 really got me to thinking. (# 10 ties in there a little too) Not so much about the military seating but about the "makes one person the "main" contributor - the Preacher" comment. Something like this has been stewing in my mind for a while and I don't know if it will come out the way I want it too...but here goes.
Pastors (or Preachers) in today's church are usually in one of two categories. They have been given too much power or not enough. I have served in churches on both sides of this coin and I didn't see that either was a very good situation.
On one hand, you have the Pastor who is a puppet for the various committees, deacon bodies, elders, or what have you, that the church has in place for governing. This whipped individual can't do anything without prior approval, a quorum, a vote, the deed to his house or the blood of his firstborn. In churches like this, sometimes the Pastor begins to feel a bit squashed and he starts to strain against his bonds a bit. At this point, the Pastor is either reaquainted with his leash or given his walking papers.
On the other hand, you have churches who are "staff lead." I would assume that means that the staff can do whatever they like but it really means that the Pastor is calling the shots. Oh sure, the Pastor has a little group of men he is supposedly accountable to, his own personal "checks and balances" squad. That's a good thing...if it works. Not sure it does. Some Pastors put in this position were once ruled over by a deacon body and are now stretching their wings of autonomy. Some rule with a fair hand and others take over with a hand that resembles that of a dictator. It's their way or the highway.
Another horrible trend I see these days is that the Pastor is seen as some type of "Pope" figure. The Pastor is seen as the figurehead of the church and is, for lack of a better word, worshiped. I attended one church for a while where many of the men in the church started dressing like the Pastor and the women emulated the Pastor's wife. The worst thing about it is that the Pastor was probably once a humble man with a vision to do good. But popularity and a good paycheck has tranformed the man into a demigod. Am I the only one who is seeing this for what it is?
In closing I would just like to say that I am truly thankful for the handful of Pastors that I have worked with who have not fallen into this trap. They are few and far between but I salute them for their solid, humble leadership and their unfailing trust in God. I honestly don't know how they do it.

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