Jesus said He would build His Church (Matthew 16:18) and yet people want to do things their way. I have been working with a specific leadership team for many years now and once every other month the conversation and discussion turns to the need for a full-time pastor to be in town and functioning on behalf of the local church. This small town has no resident pastors as all functioning churches are connected to larger parishes and share their priest or minister with other congregations. But, we need a “pastor” because back when we had one…
Well, he was not full-time. He was retired and so willing to work for very little. He drove a school bus to make ends meet. The church did not grow during his time even though he lived in the town. But, we need a pastor. Why? Resident, full-time, paid pastors leading churches is really not a biblical model. It is a manmade system often used to control people. It creates a clergy-laity split among God’s people when God has always wanted a “priesthood of all believers” and not a professional clergy class. It allows the people of God to sit back and do nothing because they pay the professional to do the ministry. And, over the many centuries that this has been a model in many nations the church has been pathetic and powerless.
The Church was never meant to be pastoral. God called the Church to be prophetic and to walk in supernatural power. Every true believer can hear the voice of God for themselves and so can receive all the pastoral help they need from The Great Shepherd and the One He sent to be with us – the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. And, the church hears the voice of God for direction and the many aspects of her life through the ministry of the fivefold, ascension gift ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. Specifically, the apostle as they are the Master Builders and can “see” the way that Jesus is building His Church and how that Church is to function.
In the fivefold ministry there is the role of “pastor.” But, this is not the local pastor but a member of the translocation fivefold, ascension gift ministries. Their task is to come in to a local church and teach the people how to care for one another – how to be pastoral. There are 59 “one another” verses in the New Testament and if believers actually fulfilled these verses then there is nothing for a full-time paid professional” to do. People, the priesthood of all believers, do the ministry.
The Church Jesus is building is different than what is. The current church is a man made organization and not to God-directed organism that Church was meant to be. It is based very much on a top-down, business model and not on a grass-roots up model of ministry. The way the current church functions has no room for the true fivefold ministry and so the local church is able to eliminate this God-given team ministry and settle for a paid, professional clergy (priest, pastor, minister) who cares for the people and is expected to run the church and even bring growth to the church. And, of course, it is not working because it is not the way that Jesus is building His Church.
So, unless there is a change in heart leading to a change in leadership and thus a definite change in the way we are approaching the future of this specific church I am working with – I will simply be offering my resignation and go elsewhere … investing my time and effort in something that will actually bear fruit and be something that God can truly bless and prosper.