Your Pastor Is Not A CEO, A Shopkeeper Catering To Ill-defined Spiritual Needs, Or A Rancher

Under the impact of modernity there are significant pressures brought to bear on the pastoral office that would make the office something other than the teaching office of the church. 

Alistar MacIntyre has argued that modernity has produced a world view that is managerial and therapeutic. 

Os Guiness in his excellent book Dining With the Devil: The Megachurch Movement Flirts With Modernity maintains that the managerial and therapeutic approaches spawned by modernity have subjected the gospel to the pragmatism of “whatever works” and to the subjectivity of whatever therapy brings relief. Thus the pastor is seen as a CEO, a shopkeeper catering to ill-defined spiritual needs, or a rancher. 

In The Parish Paper Lyle Schaller writes, “The most difficult and certainly the most demanding change is for the minister to move from the stance of pastor, teacher, shepherd, to becoming a skilled and effective agent of intentional change.” 

The managerial model would subordinate the pastor as shepherd/teacher to the pastor as administrator. The ascendancy of the therapeutic model is traced by E. Brooks Holifield in his book "From Salvation to Self-Realization: The History of Pastoral Care in America." Actually, the title says it all. Brooks charts the evolution of pastoral care that was centered in the language of prayer and Scripture in the early American Puritans to the contemporary paradigm embodied in the Clinical Pastoral Care Movement. 

The catechesis of the Small Catechism cannot be sustained by either of these models. Yes, there are budgets to be managed and broken lives to be mended. There are others in the congregation who can attend to many of these things. Recall that the apostles appointed seven men to take care of the food distribution program so that the apostles could devote themselves “to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). In the present-day church we often do just the opposite, as pastors turn over “prayer and . . . the ministry of the word” to the laity and instead busy themselves with the multiplication of programs and administration of parish business. 

Excerpt taken from: John T. Pless, Catechesis for Life in the Royal Priesthood

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Unknown said…
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