24 January 2006

Pastors, the Church, and [North]America

Bran Hansen - "Letters from Kamp Krusty" has some interesting thoughts on how the church in America has become what it is... fat and stagnant

This is a quote he posts from Charisma
"I am amazed at how much the church in America can accomplish without the Holy Spirit.'

'This is where the church in America has been confused. What are our priorities? To build the biggest and nicest buildings? To have more crowds? More money?'

'...the American church is spending most of its money on things that are not God's priorities. If the church doesn't understand the priorities of God before spending its funds, then abuse is inevitable. This abuse is observed when men and women of God eventually fall into the trap of greed.'

(regarding the successful pastor emphasis) 'Some churches in the United States look like they are sponsoring fashion shows or TV programs...In some African countries, some pastors have started imitating this Hollywood style by manipulating people to get money.'

'I wish that my American brothers realized how hurtful it is to the cause of Christ when they focus so much on material things. I am not against wealth or beautiful things, but why does a preacher need a limousine instead of a normal car? Must preachers have a huge entourage in order to enter conferences and churches? God is fed up with all these things!'
Brant askes the question do we even really need paid pastors
I'm thinking we set pastors up to compromise by sending kids to Bible college, locking them into church careers, giving them too much authority, making them choose (frequently) between what's-best-for-the-church vs. their salaries, implying -- or flat-out saying -- they have special insight unavailable to others, sending them to conferences that promote the idea that they are really C.E.O.'s of American businesses, promoting them church to bigger church, giving them lots of free time to get into trouble, often giving them small-time celebrity treatment, or, say, asking for youth trips without their wives and little children, but with fawning teenage girls. And on and on.
I know at The Gig we pay our Pastor (who never ever posts on his blog) because there is no way that you could do what he does and have a full time job. I agree that when we tell people that they are the cornerstone of where the church is going - then yeah they will end up there. But, when a pastor take a first will be last and the last first aproach and looks at his role as only a member of the vision... I hope that the result is going to be different.

gosh it comes down to ego I think.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this I'm just getting started.

edit:

One more link if you're really into all of this from What is Church
















3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well..very interesting read you have here, I agree with you on your comment and I am curious what your other comments or insights will be. Its given me something to think about. I think honestly God puts pastors into place with vision, passion, direction and wise heart. God will not let these pastors with a heart for God, all there needs will be taken care of. just my little comment for tonight..its late so who knows Sharon

Toby Deitrich said...

Thankfully the church I attend is no celebrity show in the making. Our pastor is paid a salary, yes, but he has to augment this salary with small jobs on the side in order to make a liveable wage.

Nevertheless, I find myself wondering why church is the way it is? Despite being the church treasurer, I am ambivalent at best about the concept of paid ministry. Why do we sit there and listen to someone preach and then sit there and sing songs? Why do we even go to church? I feel desperate for something more, something different, something not just new but real. I feel that way even though my church is about as different from the mega churches your post references.

Tim G. said...

Toby,
you are asking the same questions that people keep asking.

In North America we have got caught up in "doing church" and find ourselves in a rut.

Christ didn't call us to build comfy churches, he wants us to tell others about him - to be real with people and be in relationship with people... not just the people that happen into our church the people on our street, in our town where we are.