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Posts Tagged ‘former pastors’

If a former pastor came to your church, and he wanted to use his spiritual gifts, where could he serve?

Last year, my wife and I were attending a great church.  We loved everything about it … except there wasn’t any venue for me to use my gifts and teach there.

So we began visiting other churches in hopes that I might find a place to teach.

One Sunday morning, we visited a church with about 70 people in attendance.  From where we were seated, I counted 8 empty rows between us and the stage.  The music wasn’t very good, the pastor ran the whole service, and the entire experience was underwhelming.

Before the service, the pastor and his wife came over and introduced themselves to us, which I thought was cool.  They seemed to be happy we were there.  I gave the pastor my card at the door and told him I’d like to take him out to lunch.

We went out a few days later.  I shared with him that we were looking for a church home and that I was looking for a place I might be able to teach from on occasion.

The pastor blurted out, “I don’t even know you!  It would take a year for you to be able to teach in our church!”

(If he had been open to having me teach, he could have vetted me with a couple phone calls, one or two speaking mp3s, and a resume.  Would have taken two hours.)

Obviously, I had hit a nerve.

I didn’t want to take the pastor’s job, or preach every Sunday, or take the spotlight off him in any way.

I just wanted to teach the Bible to Christians … and I thought he might welcome an offer of help.

But I was wrong.

More recently, I visited a church that advertised a contemporary service … at 11:30 on Sunday morning.

When I got there, I didn’t know where the bathroom was … couldn’t find the door to the worship center … wasn’t greeted by anybody when I finally found the entrance … and counted 43 people at that service.

Several weeks later, my wife came with me and we counted 25 people at that same service.

So I took the pastor out to lunch, and casually mentioned that I had been doing contemporary services for 22 years, and if he ever needed help, I would be glad to assist him in any way I could.

He hasn’t called yet.

There are thousands of ex-pastors who aren’t helping to advance the kingdom of God because they’re not permitted to serve in local churches.

Why not?

Because they’re perceived as a threat by the lead pastor.

Even though it’s bad theology, pastors like to view themselves as being omnicompetent.

Inside their congregations, they believe they know more about the Bible and leadership and preaching and administration and fundraising and evangelism and managing staff and prayer than anybody else does.

Or at least they want people to think that they do.

So if someone comes along that might know Scripture or leadership or staff management as well or better than they do, they feel threatened.

Here’s the irony: that same church would open its arms to an untested young man in his early twenties who felt called to ministry.

He’d be allowed to work with children … or youth … or the worship team … or a small group … and maybe even speak on ocassion.

Why?

Because he’s obviously in an inferior position to the pastor.

But if you have years of experience, and you could do something better than the senior pastor, you would find yourself unwelcome in most churches.

This is why most ex-pastors do one of four things:

*Quit going to church.

*Form their own ministry.

*Find a megachurch and just veg.

*Become an interim pastor.

In each case, that seasoned pastor doesn’t threaten anybody.

Do pastors really want to see the kingdom of God advance in America?

Then they should seek out former pastors as mentors … and coaches … and consultants … and trainers … and unpaid staff members … and fill-in preachers … and teachers of special classes.

But if they’re more interested in being the undisputed sovereigns of their little church empires, then they should chase away anyone who is more gifted in some area than they are.

And from where I sit, they’re doing it quite well.

Why do you think current pastors fail to utilize the gifts and experiences of former pastors?  I’m interested in your observations.

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