What Is The Pastor To Be?

The 21st-century pastorate can be a daunting position to hold

“Some church’s expectations are so high—and stories of notoriously demanding churches are in strong supply—that many pastors experience burnout. A cottage industry has sprung up around this phenomenon: conferences, workshops, counselors, books, and materials all to support the beleaguered minister.”

 

Today’s pastor wears many hats. Some of these hats are appropriate, aligning with the New Testament’s expectations for the pastorate. Yet many are unhealthy, burdensome expectations imposed by the congregation—or even by the pastor himself.

In any case, the 21st-century pastorate can be a daunting position to hold. The biblical expectations are high, and the nonbiblical ones held by many churches are higher still. No pastor is omni-competent, and none can be omnipresent. Yet today’s pastor is often expected to be both.

In fact, some church’s expectations are so high—and stories of notoriously demanding churches are in strong supply—that many pastors experience burnout. A cottage industry has sprung up around this phenomenon: conferences, workshops, counselors, books, and materials all to support the beleaguered minister. Spoofs caricaturizing the pastor’s dilemma have arisen as well. Here’s a common one that made its way to my inbox (source unknown):

After hundreds of fruitless years, a model minister has finally been found to suit everyone. It is completely guaranteed that he will please any church:

  • He preaches only 20 minutes but thoroughly expounds the Word.
  • He condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
  • He works from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. doing every type of work, from preaching in the pulpit to janitorial work.
  • He makes $100 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books regularly, has a nice family, drives a nice car, and gives $50 a week to the church.
  • He stands ready to give to any good cause, also.
  • His family is completely model in deportment, dress, and attitude.
  • He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years.
  • He is tall, short, thin, heavyset, handsome, has one brown eye and one blue eye, hair parted in the middle, left side dark and straight, right side blond and wavy.
  • He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spend all of his time with the older people.
  • He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work.
  • He makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched, and is never out of the office.

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