Breaking Pastors (part four)

It seems I was actually being ‘topical’ or ‘current’ with my latest posts on Breaking Pastors. By way of wrap up – not really a conclusion, there’s a whole lot more to say – I thought I would gather some links that have been posted in comments or sent to me on this one.

NY Times
Politics Daily
The Pulpit
Out of Ur
Into They Word

Now, here’s my guess. An article went out over the AP and that got picked up and mutated into all these articles. Or there’s something in the water.

As I posted a while ago, quite a few friends and pastors of some “fame” or “success” have been calling it quits or “time out!” this year. Some, like John Piper, could call it “time to retire” but most are years away from that age and stage. And we all know people who have been beat up by the system, both shepherds and the flocks. It would be oversimplifying to say that many were not called, it would be ignoring reality to say that all were called.

There’s an interesting point in the book of Acts where Paul stops. For about a year and a half all he does is make tents. In Acts it takes up the space between a couple paragraphs. He describes this period to the Corinthians – this year occurs in Corinth – as having come to them in weakness. None of us, even Scripture writing apostles, are immune from getting broken. In his case, a couple met him and ministered to him and with him in some way that’s never really explained – I think it doesn’t need to be. Two are better than one, someone once said, and three are even better.

A few leftover thoughts for another time on this topic:

1) Pastors get broken by the weight of the reputation that grows in the world about clergy types.
2) Pastors get broken by the “success” they see in others who they know are theologically and morally bankrupt.
3) Pastors get broken by the crushing expectations of a consumer driven culture.
4) Pastors get broken by the people who they’ve poured their lives out for and into who desert the fellowship. Believers who were once friends and who now won’t talk to them.
5) Pastors get broken by the cognitive dissonance of the things they believe to be true and the system they are a part of that demands they not preach, teach or act on those beliefs but rather, they tow the party line.
6) Pastors get broken by the unrealistic expectations they place on themselves and the comparisons they make between themselves and others.
7) Pastors get broken by all the normal things that break people in everyday life – marriage trouble, problems with their children, health (physical & mental) problems, financial difficulties, addictions, etc.

What we need is a new church culture. We need a church culture that encourages us to speak the truth in love and does not encourage or reward dysfunctional or hurtful behaviour. We need a culture where stoicism is not a virtue and silence (which implies approval) isn’t confused with peacemaking. We need a culture that does not elevate the pastor types and neither does it denigrate them. We need a culture where pastors who are breaking or are broken can share that with those closest to them, and those in their community of faith, without fear of reprisal.

In short, we need to start living like we all live in the Kingdom of God.

What brings healing to your broken places?

Go, thou, and do likewise.


About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Church, Confession, denial, Francis Chan, God, Leadership, Meaning, ministry, pastor, Reflective, religion, stress, theology, truth. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Breaking Pastors (part four)

  1. Ted says:

    Great summary Brian.
    There are many factors contributing to this problem, and no easy solutions. As I mentioned earlier, Colossians is a great place to start when trying to develop Christ-likeness in yourself and the body.

  2. Don Rousu says:

    I love your summation, all the great links you have posted (especially “Into Thy Word”), and your call for a new church culture. I see this going hand in hand with Dallas Willard’s appeal in his book, Renovation of the Heart. Individually, we need a renovation of the heart, and we also need a renovation of our corporate heart. Thanks for stirring the conversation. You have a pastors heart for pastors. I like that. I think Jesus does too.

    Bless you, Brian!

  3. Judy says:

    What brings healing to you? go do likewise. …
    Somebody ought to make some sort of golden rule from that concept. (grin)

    Bang on, Brian. Bang on!!
    A few years back, I did a word study on the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. With very few exceptions, using context as my guide, I discovered that whenever Jesus talked about the Kingdom of Heaven, He meant the hierarchical structure of the new Jerusalem, the topsy-turvy value system it embraces where the first shall be last and the last first.

    But the Kingdom of God was different. In most cases, when He used this term, Jesus seemed to refer to the inner world – the Rule of God – that is, His reign, over the hearts of His people. In other words, the KingSHIP of God. How’s that for a new culture? A place of heart, mind and soul where God is King and we His loyal subjects pledge allegiance to Him, and we treat each other with respect and compassion – because we are all one in Christ Jesus. A place where nobody has a hidden agenda, where politics are non-existent, where everybody is equal, and where unconditional love is the national anthem.

    Whoa! That Jesus is some radical. He’d be kicked out of most modern churches.

    • brianmpei says:

      “…where nobody has a hidden agenda…” So true. What a day that will be but why not try it now, eh?

      • Judy says:

        That’s what I believe He meant. Here and now. “The Kingdom of God is within you.” Oh if we could only appropriate that and live it out as He intended … that would be a worthy goal. Pressing toward the mark – for that truly is the high calling of God in Christ: “that they all may be one, … that the world may know that You sent Me,” Jesus prayed in the Garden.
        Talk about praying big.

  4. Neil says:

    “Whoa! That Jesus is some radical. He’d be kicked out of most modern churches.”

    . Regretfully….he is.

  5. Neil says:

    “Whoa! That Jesus is some radical. He’d be kicked out of most modern churches.”

    (sigh). Regretfully….he is.

    • brianmpei says:

      I think the problem is that we just don’t recognize him.

      • Neil says:

        That’s just it; neither did the pharisees. There they were, busy making the necessary daily sacrifice for sin offering at the normal time of 3pm, when at the exact same moment, the “once-and-for-all” sacrifice was being made just across the wall in Calvary. We are no different. In fact, if much is required from those who know much, then we are MORE guilty.

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