Thursday, February 09, 2006

No Such Thing as a Village Pastor

Villages may have Supervisors, but they do not have Pastors. It is Churches that have Pastors, and it is best of Churches do not have Supervisors or other Politicians.

This thought, easily misunderstood, came to me this week due to several civic appearances offered me. I was offered to speak at the kickoff meeting for the American Cancer Society walk-a-thon. Then a phone call came asking if I would give an invocation at the beginning of a triathlon at 7 a.m. this Sunday morning. Two messages were left this past week on the answering machine from unknown ladies, seeking a venue and (I assume) an official for Spring and Summer weddings.

On the one hand, I am thankful for various opportunities to minister and serve. But holding firmly in mind that my first responsibility is to serve Christ, not just the public, my message in each instance may come across as a bit im-politic.

I believe that the fight against cancer is a worthy pursuit. I also want to say that escaping cancer is not near so important as knowing the One who has defeated death, and that to survive cancer only to experience hell is a very small victory.

I admire those who train and endure great pain in order to compete in a triathlon (though I don’t understand these people). As I think about how to compose a prayer to serve as an invocation (invoking the name, presence and help of God) for this situation, I am compelled to ask that these individuals may somehow be moved to take at least a measure of the drastic steps to improve their souls as they have their bodies, and that this Lord’s Day event might be given over to some consideration of the Holy Trinity even as they immerse themselves in a machoistic, masochistic trilogy of competition.

And as I talk with currently unknown-to-me couples who want to get married, I undersand that they are under great stress and pressure to put together an event that is made of up of countless, critical details. And with all this on their minds, they have little patience to listen to me say what is most on my mind, that the very best preparation for their marriage is to deal with their current divorce from God, and that the love and submission patterns described in the Bible do not make much sense if one is not a follower of Christ.

No, villages do not have pastors. Nor do they really want them, at least not this kind. But it is partly up to you, congregation, to make sure that this pastor doesn’t backslide into being a politician.


DNance said...

I think this is a great opportunity to embrace the public with there cause and to preach a God centered gospel. If there is a chance to lead someone to Christ or enhance ones walk with Christ then by all means give it a shout. You are not the Village Pastor I agree, but you are a Pastor within the village.

jess said...

steve swayze for president

Jeremy said...

This is nothing new, either. So many times in the Old Testament you read of Kings having their holy men and prophets. And there were those who tickled the King's ears (often as a matter of survival) and those few that actually spoke the heart of God. The problem with the latter is the same as what inspired your blog title: A "Village Pastor" that would speak honestly for God and God's heart wouldn't be a village pastor for long.

Here's a question, though (and one that's easy for me to ask not being in your shoes). Does the fact that these people don't want to hear your message (ultimately God's message) mean that you kindly decline the invitation in order to save them the headache, or do you use the opportunity to be a mouthpiece for God even at the expense of rejection / embarassment (on both sides) / giving FBC a "bad name" to those people? Maybe you don't purposefully make a scene (like showing up at the Triathalon with a prayer about how they should be building up the Body of Christ instead of their own bodies), but you explain to the person that contacted you that you know God does not approve of people "forsaking the assemblying of themselves together" in order to put on a selfish display of accomplishment. I think this is what dnance was talking about.

I do see your point in this entry - a "Village Pastor" would be a political position and you would have to play politics in such a position. True, but being a "Pastor within the village", as dnance put it, you get some of the same contacts / opportunities. And I think you don't just don't silence your message because it's an unpopular one. I'm very aware of how easy that is to say (type) from where I'm sitting, even as I neglect to speak the message of God to the person in the next cubicle over at work because of potential embarassment.

God help us all to be better witnesses.