It Takes a Church: The Problem with “Going Pro” Tod Bolsinger
... Most of us who end in the pastorate do so because someone experienced our ministry skills and encouraged us to consider it as a vocation. In short, most of us were about the best lay leaders in our churches, organizations or missions and somewhere along the way someone heard us teach, heard us pray, saw us at a bedside or were part of a successful ministry program that we headed up and they told us that we were so good, that we should “go pro.” (And most often, was mostly about “preaching”. If you could preach or teach the Bible better than most, then it was assumed that you were called to be a pastor.)And so what did we do? We headed off to “professional ministry school” (i.e. “seminary”) or took a job on a church staff with the assumption that now the only thing that was going to change was that we were going to be PAID to do what we used to do as a VOLUNTEER. (And, really, what’s not to like about that?) On top of that, once we got our “professional association card” (i.e. “ordination”) we then became the resident “pro” for all kinds of wonderful and meaningful family and community “religious events” (like weddings, baptisms, funerals, invocations and such). For most of us, this seemed like it would be the best possible world. Our friends and family were proud of us, our home churches affirmed us and we now got to be paid (ok, not much pay, really, but the “ego perks” were nice) and “freed” to “do ministry full-time.” We were now expected to be the resident “pro”, the “star player”, the “free agent” who brought the “home team” great results.
But… there is one really big problem. Being pastor really isn’t about being the star player. It’s really about being a COACH. When you get ordained, you don’t get on the playing field, you go to the bench. You are not the “resident professional Christian” but the leader of a community of mission.
And that leadership calling is very, very different than most of us expected. ...