.::A Collection of Sinners

Eugene Peterson in his excellent text on pastoral ministry, Working the Angles, makes this amazing observation and critique:

“The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches.  There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world.  The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them.  In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called pastor and given a designated responsibility in the community.  The pastor’s responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God.  It is this responsibility that is being abandoned in spades.”

It reminds me of a famous advertisement for a church that said, “Tired of the same old hypocrites?  Come and meet some new hypocrites at the so & so church.”  I found that refreshingly honest and confessional.  Unfortunately, what Peterson goes on to describe (over twenty years ago) is the way modern pastors and minister have “sold out” the vocation and calling like no other time in history.  Peterson asserts that the professionalization of the modern pastorate is perhaps one of the most damaging thing to Christianity and ministry.

I tend to think he is correct.

  • We have ministers going after bigger and bigger churches, instead of more and more lost.
  • It becomes about the buildings and the programs and less about the needs of our communities.
  • We care more about the fancy powerpoints and media shout presentations in our worship services then we do the lost, the poor and the disenfranchised of our community.

If those who are called to pastor a community are truly attentive to God and helping the community to listen then perhaps we will forget the “game” of church and begin to really do life like Jesus called us to.  Maybe we will not be concerned about creating a safe CULTURE and more more p[roactive about becoming a REDEEMING community.  Hopefully we shall become honestly TRANSPARENT about our falleness and our utter, dire need and dependance upon Yahweh for EVERYTHING.


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