I wonder why we assume that the important ministers should be chased like they are some celebrity.

12 07 2010

I wonder why we assume that the important ministers should be chased like they are some celebrity.  

Or maybe it’s just me and what I have been taught.

I have learned that you find who you admire and want to mentor you and you ask them if you can tag along, if you could join them, learn from them, be like them. I learned you find the best in the game, your field, the area, the profession and become their pupil. You seek them out and learn how to be the greatest from them.

It sounds ideal and pretty normal, except I am not sure that’s 100% the proper discipleship model.

Jesus is kind of huge. He is pretty much this revolutionary figure who is the reason for Christian ministry today. And yet He did the hard work of hand-picking His disciples. Jesus walked to find people and invited them to personally join Him on a quest. Jesus sweated and got sore feet finding people He personally called to be with Him.

The pressure was on Jesus, not to find the perfect students, but the right disciples.

The work was Jesus’. Not the disciples’.

Because it was not the disciples’ job to call themselves, but Jesus’ to call them out.

In Matthew 20 (vs. 1-16), the parable of the vineyard workers, the owner calls people to work in his vineyard, not the other way around. There is no presentation of a resume, a long list of ministerial experience, or extroverted personality requirement. Just a call.

Ministers have moved away from that model. I don’t know why. I don’t understand why some ministers see themselves as so vital to the ministry of God, the superstar of the church, that they are no longer doing the hard work of seeking workers but want workers to seek them. There’s been this strange reversal that encourages worshipping the pastor instead of God; both the pastor and the protégée are not seeking God together in caring for the harvest but the pastor expects to be the people’s harvest.

At the end of the day this reversed disciple model encourages an increased desire for the pastor of God and not God.

In the Matthew text, the workers did not even know they were supposed to do this work. God calls people into work and ministry they may not have ever done before.  They don’t call themselves. If they did, wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of God doing the empowering?

Ministers who have gotten to a place where they expect people to work hard to get close to them because they are so important may be missing something. Like humility. Perhaps they’re missing the fact that the owner is the one who initiates this movement of harvest by doing the hard work of recruiting workers to gather fruit from dawn to dusk. The owner works before any worker until the latest part of the day.

He is supposed to be a 6am to 11pm type of minister. No photo-shoots. No women doing the real work and he calling it his own…

 Maybe the true role of a minister is not corporate but personally recruiting legacy-keepers. Maybe the job of a pastor, minister, evangelist, etc. is one where they seek those who they plan to pass on the mantle to.

Jesus did and He was pretty pastoral, right?

 Maybe it’s not about how long a pastor or minister can keep their position and influence, but about how to keep the ministry going through the next generation of spiritual examples and leaders.


Let It Be

24 06 2010

Dear Church:

We need to step up our discernment game. Like seriously. People who make a career and name for themselves by talking stuff they know nothing about is not only extremely annoying but damaging.

Confession: I am only an expert on my own life: what I have felt, experience, seen, discerned | I love people but I can be very greedy and focus on my myself way too much | I love doing ministry but I can be very picky about which ministries I feel called to do | Just because I’m black doesn’t mean that I’m an expert on all things black [just because I can quote someone black doesn’t mean I’m an expert on them either] | I have my racist moments | It’s been slow but I’m beginning to see my color less and less around my Caucasian friends and church family [slow, but not impossible] | Sometimes I’ll start talking about something I know but stop or stumble over my words because I really don’t know what I’m talking about so I struggle pretending like I do | I’ve re-found the bad habit of gossiping and am currently working to change that |  I want to read my Bible, go to ministry, etc badly but convince myself not to because “my heart’s not in it” | I judge more than I love | I keep my options open for ministry because I don’t feel called to anything terribly specific even though I control which ministries I feel called to be a part of | I don’t confess as often as I sin | I let people tell me that it’s okay not to change [repent] because I’m human and am just working through some things, even though I know deep down that it’s not that easy.  

Whew! Now that I’ve completely embarrassed myself and made myself vulnerable not only to your criticism, but also God’s love, I now want to speak with a clear conscience and from a genuine place.

We need to be more honest, especially to ourselves and to people who talk too much stuff. We need to be wary of when we or others we know and love speak of ourselves so well and negate our humanity with “I’m not perfect”, “we all make mistakes” etc. but don’t really mean it. It’s just a disclaimer that is part of the legal jargon of our self-righteous statements. We don’t know it all, we only know in part. But we fall into a dangerous trap of believing without discerning. We listen to people who talk out of no experience of what they’re saying, no education in what they claim to know, arrogance, their  experience in their race [which may not equate to the credentials we think it does], and anger.

And we take this to be as true as God’s word. We don’t question it. If we question it, somehow we’re afraid of doing some spiritual disservice to this “woman of God” or “man of God”. But it doesn’t work that way. If they’re a “woman of God” or “man of God”, where is their fruit? Not people who feed their egos. Not their 2,000 friends on Facebook, 15 who comment on everything and are from their neighborhood or church, but that person who has bettered lives that Facebook doesn’t tell us about? Or their writing or book doesn’t brag about? Or their sermon [in their grandparents’ church] doesn’t state as its spiritual example?

Since when did we accept things without checking out that it’s credible? Since when did their words become God’s words? Since when did we start believing EVERYTHING simply because it’s being said?

I have no solution to this. I have no answer. I’m warning. Double check what people say: they shouldn’t be offended if you can confirm what they say is correct. If they’re offended upon being questioned, it’s probably because they’re busted. But if you love them or care about them, bust them before they get busted elsewhere. Being busted by your friend, brother or sister is definitely hard and embarrassing; but the clean-up is Godly.

I’m also hating. I hate it when people think everything outside of God qualifies them to do ministry. I hate it when people who are not super-star preachers, youth ministers, college ministers are ignored and their souls bleed because they don’t have the platform, advantage, ego-feeding friends and family, money, extroverted personality, go-get-‘em attitude, spiritual gift of “talking out of their butt” etc. like the “heavy-hitters” do. I am hating. I’m hating that God’s church looks like a circus. And that the ring-masters think that they had something to do with those in the Kingdom. And that they think their tricks, and magic and bad risk-taking will mean something there. I hate the fact that they think their ring-master mentality has bore good fruit instead of the maggots that it has brought to good fruit. And if I may be truthful, I often-times hate the fact that God can redeem maggot-ridden, rotten fruit. I don’t want God to, but know God can, because like the eldest son, I don’t want my father to throw a party when my younger sibling returns home repentant. I want my father to tell me I was right all along because my self-esteem wants affirmation at the expense of others. And I know this isn’t right.

I have a lot to learn from my father. And I’m glad that my father is willing to love my sin, for I know it is greater than my younger brother’s. (Luke 15:11-31)

I love that God is a redeemer. And that today, right now, on this earth we all have a chance not only to help redeem others but to be redeemed. And automatically with our being redeemed comes in the inadvertent redeeming of others. No money necessary. No mega-church necessary. No self-made followers necessary. No egotistical Facebook status updates necessary.

If we let it be.  

And I’ll be the first to say. I need to let it be.

%d bloggers like this: