Five Reminders About Pastoral Ministry from Mark Driscoll’s Announcement

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Jay's picture

You want a reminder on Pastoral ministry?  Here's a two-fer:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

- 1 Timothy 3

And

As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

-1 Timothy 5:19-22

The saddest thing about the Driscoll disaster is how utterly predictable it was, and how many people jumped all over themselves to push a man who wasn't prepared as 'the next best thing'.  Next time, read the Book first.

:rolleyes:

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

mmartin's picture

Jay, well said.  Agreed 100%.

 

Apparently it isn't only Fundyland that has issues.  I know that may shock some people, but yes it is true.  The sin nature we all retain affects everyone.

mmartin's picture

The author makes some good points to be sure.

But time will tell if there is going to be a real change of spirit with real accountability or if this is just another PR stunt.

Bert Perry's picture

....the immense power of a "mega-church" is going to be a temptation for most men.  May be time to rethink the mega-church.....and remember that the elder is supposed to be a shepherd.  How many men can take care of ten thousand sheep, let along ten thousand cats church members?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Bert,

The first church at Jerusalem (though they had their issues too) was certainly a mega church by the numerical standards we use today, though it did take 12 apostles, 7 deacons, and at least one elder to lead that work.  I would imagine that a church that size today would take even more leaders than they had.  Of course, you may be correct in noting that maybe it would be better to not have churches get to that size.  It's definitely worth thinking about.  I don't think there is any particular virtue in being really small, but the couple of times I have attended churches in the "mega" size category, it felt more like attending a sports event than being part of a church.  It would really take a lot of work (not just from leadership) to have a church that size be the right kind of ministry in the lives of its members and not have people falling through the cracks.

Dave Barnhart

Jim's picture

Larry Nelson is doing research and preparing an article on Minneapolis' Eagle Brook Church. He has visited every location (all the while attending his own church in Burnsville). Eagle Brook has no celebrity pastor. As a matter of fact, the ministry seems to be off the mega-church radar. Not to disclose his findings but I can say he is enthusiastic about their ministry. Per Larry, Eagle Brook has more members than all of the Minnesota fundamentalist churches combined.

Bert Perry's picture

Eagle Brook has got to have the shortest statement of faith I've ever seen.  Love to see more about them--apparently one teaching pastor's sermons are broadcast through six locations?  

Good points on the early church.  Let's walk through it, though.  With 3000 new converts (or perhaps families) the first day and thousands more converting over time, it would seem to be a mega-church in terms of numbers.  That said, twelve apostles--OK eleven if you don't count Mathias--shared the load, so you're at 250 people (families)/apostle to....maybe two or three times that?  Still a heavy load, but a far cry from Joel Osteen.

Moreover, we're told they spent the days together in teaching and prayer, no--so what we've got here is not our ordinary 1-2 hour service once a week with a quick homily for prayer meeting, but rather a fairly intensive "boot camp" for people who were soon to be expelled from Jerusalem.  I almost might call it a quick Bible college or seminary.

And although Scripture does not say this explicitly, I think that they might have known they were going to be expelled, as many were selling homes and lands they previously thought their families would have just about forever.  In other words, "you're going to lose this house and land, so you might as well get something useful out of it now".  

So I view the infant church as more or less a "boot camp" that differs in many significant ways from churches today--though of course many pastors would love to see even a tiny hint of that urgency they seem to have had then.  What is clear, though, is that the long periods of teaching (e.g. Eutychus) that characterized the early church would be effective in doing what Jesus did with his 12 (note: 12, not 1000) disciples; teaching them deeply and training them to go out and reach others.

This is where the rubber really hits the road in my opposition to most mega-churches.  No matter how good the teaching is--I confess a great respect for Piper and Spurgeon--you still have the weakness that a couple of hours per week is not sufficient for a pastor to get to know his congregants and actually make disciples.  They figured a way around that in the early church; today's mega-church, not so much.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:

This is where the rubber really hits the road in my opposition to most mega-churches.  No matter how good the teaching is--I confess a great respect for Piper and Spurgeon--you still have the weakness that a couple of hours per week is not sufficient for a pastor to get to know his congregants and actually make disciples.  They figured a way around that in the early church; today's mega-church, not so much.

You'll get no argument from me along those lines.  I'm not opposed to very large churches simply based on numbers, but as I said before, they can feel very impersonal.  One fairly large (somewhere between 1000-2000) church that I attended for a while in college got around this by 1. Having a pastor just for the college-age singles (and that was already about 150 people), and 2. Having about 6 older married couples (their kids being college age or older) be part of that singles ministry to act as house leaders for discipleship, get-togethers, bible-studies, etc., as well as being part of our SS class.  I remember the couple that led our group very well.  They became like a 2nd family for those first years I was away from home.  I have always imagined the "house to house" meeting of the early church to be a little bit like that.  Even so, it is still likely that say, Peter, did not know every single one of the early church members as well as a pastor of a church of 75 would know his flock (unless God miraculously gave him that knowledge).

I guess I've never thought about the early church as a "boot camp" rather than as a traditional church -- they were certainly called "the church."  It's possible that the reason they sold most of their possessions was that they expected the 2nd coming to be sooner than it was.  It was also about 40 years until Jerusalem was destroyed, so that would be a pretty long boot camp!  It's certainly an interesting line of thought, though.

Dave Barnhart

Bert Perry's picture

dcbii; the persecution I'm referring to is the one Saul of Tarsus took part in, and which the Apostle Paul solicited donations from the Corinthians and Macedonians as reported in 2 Corinthians, prior to Titus Vespasian's destruction of the city.  That would be a much shorter time-frame than the 40 years you mention, and it's worth noting that as far as one can discern from Acts, the basic character of the church that was left in Jerusalem changed as many/most believers fled.  Hence my hunch that the early description was a boot camp.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

Larry, given that the link you provide contains precious little link to Scripture, I'd dare suggest that the short version is the full version.  Note as well that they do not have deacons or elders, but rather just people on the board without a clear link to Biblical qualifications for the office.  Sounds like a strong "keep away from this" to me.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Bert,

I know that in principle you're generally opposed to churches getting over, what, 150 or 200 in size; but you'll just have to wait to see my conclusions....... Smile

 

Jeremy Horn's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

dcbii; the persecution I'm referring to is the one Saul of Tarsus took part in, and which the Apostle Paul solicited donations from the Corinthians and Macedonians as reported in 2 Corinthians, prior to Titus Vespasian's destruction of the city.  That would be a much shorter time-frame than the 40 years you mention, and it's worth noting that as far as one can discern from Acts, the basic character of the church that was left in Jerusalem changed as many/most believers fled.  Hence my hunch that the early description was a boot camp.

Bert,
Are you saying that when Saul of Tarsus took part in that persecution, he was one of the persecutors and that the Apostle Paul was preparing a gift from the Corinthians during that same persecution? I ask because it seems like you are saying that Saul of Tarsus and The Apostle Paul were two separate people. I would just like some clarification about this. I just want to Madame sure I am understanding you correctly.

Bert Perry's picture

Jeremy, I am saying that Saul/Paul, of course the same person, were witness to the persecution that chased a large portion of the infant church out of Jerusalem, and that Biblically speaking, that persecution predated Titus' destruction of Rome in AD 70.  Hence, per my discussion with dcbii, we can treat the example of the infant church--meeting all day with the apostles, selling homes and lands and such--as a temporary "boot camp" instead of a normative example for the modern church.

Or, put more concisely, I'd argue that ultra-large churches may be, Biblically speaking, an aberration which ought to be remedied by the training of more elders, deacons, and such, which appears to be exactly what the apostles were doing with the early church.

Or, to respond to Larry, guilty as charged.  :^)  I can admit some exceptions, but all too often, I see ultra-large churches serving more as vehicles for the ambitions of the senior pastor more than as places where disciples are made.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

Correction: I should have said that we may be able to treat the example of the infant church as a boot camp, not that we definitely can.  There is definitely room for interpretation IMO.

And Jeremy, enjoyed that "Madame sure".  Took me a minute to figure out what you were saying, though.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jeremy Horn's picture

About "Madame Sure", that's why I hate typing, especially on a small screen. I can't always proofread effectively. I didn't realize I had typed that until you pointed it out.

 

 

Jeremy Horn's picture

My phone won't let me type everything I wanted to say in one message. Thank you for your clarification. It was probably just me, but they way it was worded sure did sound like you were separating Saul and Paul.