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Preacher Or Pastor


I recently attended my father-in-law's funeral.  His name is Ken.  The Evangelical pastor who conducted the service did a pretty good job preaching the gospel.  There was, however, one thing he said that caught my attention. 


This pastor told us that he was Ken's pastor for the last few years, although he admitted that he didn't know Ken all that well.  He would briefly speak with Ken as they shook hands after the Sunday morning meeting.  The pastor said that once Ken was too ill to "go to church", he had church at home in front of his TV set.  Because Ken's illness prevented him from "going to church", the pastor lost any contact that he had with Ken, even if it was only a hand shake.  These words spoke volumes concerning how this pastor understood both church and pastoring.  


1 Timothy 3:4 and 5 compares a pastor to a "caring father".  It's clear to me that Ken's pastor did not view himself as a "caring father", but rather a preacher, even though he called himself a pastor.  Such an approach to pastoring  is pretty common these days.  We tend to major on the pulpit, not the people. 


I'd suggest a caring father does more than preach on a Sunday morning.  If you read Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, you'll see Paul to be a good example of a pastor who cares for people.  The whole letter is about his relationship to the people in the Corinthian church.  Paul's heart was aching for those people.  He shed many tears, and experienced sleepless nights due to the stresses affecting their relationship.  I'm convinced Paul would have visited the bedside of a sick man.


I'm sure Ken's pastor is a nice guy, but his approach to pastoring  is a sad commentary on the modern day pastor.  I remember a time when pastors came to our homes to visit and pray.  We've gotten pretty clinical in our approach to pastoring these days.  If you want to see your pastor, you phone his secretary and book an appointment.  You arrive at the pastor's office.  You sit in the waiting room.  You get called into his office and sit in a chair and converse with a man behind his desk.  I know this isn't always the case, and I know times change, but I believe we're too clinical and businesslike in our approach to pastoring. 


In all areas of church life, we should return to Biblical Christianity.  A Dow Jones Corporation is not something on which to model the Body of Christ.  The church is a body of people, not a business.  Pastoring is not a career choice where you work your way up the ladder to success.  It's a calling from our Lord Jesus Christ where you work your way down the ladder to serve God's people. 


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