Thursday, December 6, 2007

Pastors verses the People of the Pews - Round One

The saying is, "Christianity would be great... except for the Christians"
There can be an issue of hero worship in the church, that sets up pastors above everybody else. A guy can look at a pastor and say, I could never be like that!" The system and the people in the pew all add to this. Some people are called to be pastors and teachers and equippers, some are called to quieter gifts of helps and encouragement, and then there are those really loud ones...
I think the friend's first issue was one of comparison. He wants to be someone that he isn't, something that he is not. Trouble always follow those kinds of thoughts. We shouldn't be comparing ourselves to anyone but Jesus (and if the friend thought trying to follow in the footsteps of his pastor was hard, imagine trying to emulate the sinless Jesus!)! And to want the same gift someone else has (just because "we" think it is special or neat) isn't the proper response to anyone, nor the way to go about "getting" it (the dichotomy between pastors and the people of the pew is a gross misunderstanding of the purpose of the "body of Christ").

A person who recognizes his/her spiritual gift and then takes 7 years of education to be the best they can be at it, well, kudos for them. That is not obviously for everyone. If God wanted you or I to do that, He would certainly provide the resources and the way for that to happen. Money, education, status - these are just tools. Anyone can use them for personal gain or for the sake of God's kingdom. Being a professional has nothing to do with gifting unless God has called us to be in that position. One person can handle riches effectively for the Kingdom, another has to give it all away (Francis of Assisi comes to mind). We are a child of God first, then everything else flows out of that (whether we are a teacher, a stay-at-home mom, a student, a garbage man, a pastor).

My attraction to the church is partly because it has a place for everyone. There is a place for people who like academics. There is a place for people who like up-front in-your-face ministry. There is a place for people who like the hymns for the theology or just because they grew up with them. There is a place for the one who likes to worship to rap. There is a place for the person who wants to sit on the sidelines for a while and take their time about where God wants them, or even what this whole journey is about. And it is not the same place necessarily for you and me.

If the playing field is undulating, we have 3 choices: work to make it level, find a new field, or find a way to make the differences part of the experience.

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