Posted by: Jeff Warren | May 26, 2011

The Role of the Pastor

Dr. Robert Creech, Professor of Christian Ministries and Director of Pastoral Ministries at Truett Seminary, has faithfully served as the interim of the First Baptist Church of McKinney, Texas.  As an outstanding interim, his messages have been intended to prepare the FBC family for the arrival of the new pastor, Dr. Richard Lee.  (I am very excited about his arrival and coming tenure as the pastor there).  I received a few excerpts from a recent sermon that I thought were outstanding.

  • The perfect pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes.
  • He condemns sin roundly but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
  • He works from 8am until midnight and sets a good example as a husband and father.
  • The perfect pastor makes $200 a week, wears nice clothes, drives a good car, makes good buys, and gives $100 a week to the church.
  • He is 29 years old and has 40 years of experience.
  • The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior adults.
  • He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church.
  • He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed.
  • He always has time for the church council and all of the various committees.
  • He never misses the meeting of any church organization and is always busy evangelizing the unchurched.

This portion below (from Eugene Peterson) is especially powerful and I am sharing it with my friends who are pastors. It’s also a great word for all church leaders and members.

“Century after century, Christians continue to take certain persons in their communities, set them apart, and say, “You are our shepherd.  Lead us to Christ likeness.”  Yes, their actions will often speak different expectations, but in the deeper regions of the soul, the unspoken desire is for more than someone doing a religious job.  If the unspoken were uttered, it would sound like this:

“We want you to be responsible for saying and acting among us what we believe about God and Kingdom and Gospel.  We believe that the Holy Spirit is among us and within us.  We believe that God’s Spirit continues to hover over the chaos of the world’s evil and our sin, shaping a new creation and new creatures.  We believe that God is not a spectator, in turn amused and alarmed at the wreckage of world history, but a participant.”

“We believe that the invisible is more important than the visible at any one single moment and in any single event that we choose to examine.  We believe that everything, especially everything that looks like wreckage, is material God is using to make a praising life.”

“We need help in keeping our beliefs sharp and accurate and intact.  We don’t trust ourselves; our emotions seduce us into infidelities.  We know we are launched on a difficult and dangerous act of faith, and there are strong influences intent on diluting or destroying it.  We want you to give us help.  Be our pastor, a minister of Word and sacrament in the middle of this world’s life.  Minister with Word and sacrament in all the different parts and stages of our lives – in our work and play, with our children and our parents, at birth and death, in our celebrations and sorrows, on those days when morning breaks over us in a wash of sunshine, and those other days that are all drizzle.  This isn’t the only task in the life of faith, but it is your task.  We will find someone else to do the other important and essential tasks.  This is yours:  Word and sacrament.”

“One more thing:  We are going to ordain you to this ministry, and we want your vow that you will stick to it.  This is not a temporary job assignment but a way of life that we need lived out in our community.  We know you are launched on the same difficult belief venture in the same dangerous world as we are.  We know your emotions are as fickle as ours, and your mind is as tricky as ours.  That is why we are going to ordain you and why we are going to exact a vow from you.  We know there will be days and months, maybe even years, when we won’t feel like believing anything and won’t want to hear it from you.  And we know there will be days and weeks and maybe even years when you won’t feel like saying it.  It doesn’t matter.  Do it.  You are ordained to this ministry, vowed to it.

There may be times when we come to you as a committee or delegation and demand that you tell us something else than what we are telling you now.  Promise right now that you won’t give in to what we demand of you.  You are not the minister of our changing desires, or our time-conditioned understanding of our needs, or our secularized hopes for something better.  With these vows of ordination we are lashing you fast to the mast of Word and sacrament so you will be unable to respond to the siren voices.”

“There are many other things to be done in this wrecked world, and we are going to be doing at least some of them, but if we don’t know the foundational realities with which we are dealing – God, Kingdom, Gospel – we are going to end up living futile, fantasy lives.  Your task is to keep telling the basic story, representing the presence of the Spirit, insisting on the priority of God, speaking the biblical words of command and promise and invitation.”


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