Wednesday, December 08, 2010
At Evangel, James Grant quotes Kevin Vanhoozer and opines:
There is only one problem with the analysis presented here and that is the role of the non-professional in the church. It is presumed int his discussion that the roles must be filled by someone getting paid to do them? Why?The pastor is the Manager of resources, financial and personal – no wonder the MBA may be more appealing than the MDiv. Note, however, that this picture of leadership is taken from other social institutions. The Israelites wanted a king like the other nations; we evangelicals want managers of megachurches to be like the megacorporations of our age. On the institutional level, the pastor is a professional manager of organizations. On the individual level, minister function as Therapists, applying psychological technology to individuals. The Manager and the Therapist are the dominant social paradigms for leadership in our times: the question is, to what extent should the Church follow suit?Hopefully we will start asking the question more frequently, but the answer to it is a bit more complex. For example, some of this depends upon the size of a church. In a smaller, independent-type church, the pastor will often have to wear the hat of not only the minister, but the secretary, occasional janitor, administrator, etc. Now I know (or rather believe) it is not supposed to be that way normally, but it is nevertheless the case in smaller settings.
I’m just wondering out loud now for ways to think through the importance of this distinction Vanhoozer made, and the necessity of “managers” and “masters,” and what kind of ecclesiastical structure we are conveying as we think through this. I’m also wondering out loud, although I didn’t get this far, about the responsibility of those evangelical churches with resources to those who are further away from the city center without resources. Again, that involves a discussion of “connectionalism” that evangelicals tend to avoid.
Seems to me that how to organize the church was a topic that consumed the apostles - it is throughout Acts and the epistles. But one thing seems implicit in all that storytelling and discussion - there are leaders, but everyone has a role. We are not intended to attend church, but rather to do it.
The issues arise, as is made plain in Paul's discussions of gifts, when here are too many who perceive themselves chiefs and not enough Indians. Hence all that stuff about heads telling feet where to get off, etc.
There is one other thing that this fails to mention. When the role of master of theology is lessened, so, in some sense is the spiritual life of the church. Spiritual leadership requires a level of study and meditation - it really is something for which people need to be set apart. Hence the divisions made in Acts when people were established to handle the programs like feeding widows and orphans, while the spiritual leadership was set aside to do just that.
So the bottom line is this, in the trend that Grant and Vanhoozer note are we punting on the churches true purpose> Are we letting the church become a mere dispenser of services?