Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. (NIV)
The work of a pastor/elder/overseer is a noble task. Always has been. Is now. Always will be.
Better paying and more prestigious clergy and church related tasks may abound.
We have coaches, consultants, marketing experts, catalysts, specialists, and strategists.
There are church-targeting authors who sell a lot of books, social media church specialists who have huge followings, and ugh, bloggers you have lots of page views.
We have layer-upon-layer of denominational employees: CEOs, DOMs/AMs/AMSs, executives of every stripe, presidents, Executive Secretary Treasurers, and more.
To be candid, more prestige, power, income, visibility, honor, and praise may abound in greater measure to all of these than the pastor (megapastors excepted because they aren’t like ordinary, retail pastors). That is the life and society we have these days and who am I to argue with it?
But I will argue that the guy who is the pastor of a congregation is the one who is doing the noble work and that according to God.
So why is it that it seems more pastors want to leave their church for a nice denominational job than stay and serve?
Why is it that the flow from the pastorate to ancillary ministry jobs always seems to be greater than the flow from the consultants, experts, specialists, and denominational workers to the pastorate? I have no data, just conjecture.
And why is it that life-sized portraits of administrators adorn denominational headquarters and not those of pastors?
“Pastors are our heroes,” sayeth denominational workers. Let’s see it.
I thought the stained glass windows were a royal Baptist fiasco at Southwestern but I’ll give credit to this part of the thinking that was represented by the colored panes: pastors were the driving force, the authentic heroes of that grand movement, The Conservative Resurgence. It wouldn’t have happened without them.
If Southern Baptists are to return to years of increasing baptisms and authentic church expansion and growth, will denominational leaders lead it? Will denomination slogans motivate it? Will denominational programs be the catalyst for it?
I think not.
Every time the real, retail pastor of a real, authentic congregation of people is unjustly criticized or heavily discouraged, I’d like to buy them a meal and say, “You’re the one who is doing a good job. It’s a noble job. Press on with it.”