Why Does Your Pastor Pastor?
I read a blog post recently about when a pastor changes his theology. It really shouldn’t surprise any of us when the theology of a pastor shifts. Do you believe exactly the way you did when you were 22 or 32? I don’t. John Piper’s doctoral dissertation is being re-released and in the preface he says that he would write it differently now.
Pastors are human and they change and they grow. But why do they pastor?
I think many pastors out there pastor for all the right reasons. Actually, I think most pastors pastor for the right reasons. They are called by God to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their churches and to those that do not know Christ as savior. They love their congregations and shepherd them.
However, there are also many that do not pastor for the right reasons. Here are some of those wrong reasons:
Some see the ministry as a profession. They may start out in a small church, but their next move is to a bigger church. Then their next move is to an even bigger church. At some point they reach the church they will finish up at. What you don’t see as often is a pastor moving to smaller churches. I suppose that happens, but you don’t see it as often.
Somewhere in their life, some people had the expectation put on them that they should be a pastor. Perhaps their mother or grandmother told them they would make a great preacher. Perhaps their father or grandfather was a pastor and the expectation is that they will follow in their footsteps. They are put on the path early in life and begin preparation early.
Along with both of these is the fact that at some point in their lives, some pastors have not developed skills that would allow them to do anything else. I happen to know of one pastor who went to school to prepare for a lucrative, professional career. After a short time in this field, he moved into ministry. Following a few decades in ministry, scandal and divorce drove him out of the pastorate. Now he works in sales just scraping by.
Finally there is the pastor who is done. They have had a good run, but they are older. They aren’t putting in the effort any longer. They go to the pastors conferences. They make a few visits here and there. However, you can tell they’re coasting. They are just waiting for the one thing to happen so they can retire. It may be for their retirement to hit a certain point. It may be for them to reach the age for Medicare. They are tired and want out, but the time just isn’t right yet.
Let me re-emphasize that I don’t think that most pastors are like this. However, I think there are enough to cause us some concern.
Have you run into any pastors who are in the ministry for the wrong reasons?