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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
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Isaiah, Son of Amoz, CEO
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
- Isaiah, Son of Amoz, CEO;
- Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, CEO;
- Ezekiel, the Priest, CEO;
- Daniel of Judah, CEO;
- Hosea, Son of Beeri, CEO;
- Joel, son of Pethuel, CEO;
- Amos of Tekoa, CEO;
- Obadiah of Judah, CEO;
- Jonah, son of Amittia, CEO;
- Micah of Moresheth, CEO;
- Nahum of Elkosh, CEO;
- Habakkuk, CEO;
- Zephaniah, son of Cushi, CEO;
- Haggai, Servant of God, CEO;
- Zechariah, son of Berhekiah, CEO;
1) The pastoral office is always no more and no less than a preaching Office. As such, the office exists for no other purpose than the ministry of the Word.
2) When the pastoral office aspires to more--or less--than that which God has called and created it, the office suffers, the office-bearer (i.e. the pastor) suffers, and the whole Body of Christ suffers.
3) Pastoral over-functioning (such as that experienced when the pastor is quasi-CEO) and pastoral under-functioning (such as experienced when pastors back away in laziness in a hypocritical "I just let God do it" avoidance of appropriate ministry responsibilities) sets the stage for an increased potential for health-threatening dynamics in both the pastor and the congregation. From God's perspective the results are never good.
4) Pastoral over-functioning promotes in the Church the false expectation and erroneous theological notion that the pastor's role goes far beyond the ministry of the Word. The ministry of the Word ought not used as an excuse or justification for pastoral totalitarianism. As such pastoral over-functioning desecrates the ministry by its sheer use of CEO-ish power, pastoral under-functioning also desecrate the office and cheats the faithful of their God-given heritage to receive the Word of Law and Gospel in their lives.
5) When congregations and pastors have succumbed to false notions of the ministerial office, the harmonious relationship between the ministerial office and the congregation is disrupted by extraneous--and contradictory--expectations foreign to the ministerial office. These unhealthy expectations, having once been formed, may die hard--if at all--and sometimes only via conflict and schism.
6) Disruption of the proper nature, relationship, and function of the ministerial office and the Church--no matter how well intended, what the circumstances, or the urgent "neediness" at hand--is always unhealthy. Indeed, it is a spiritually dangerous undertaking which always exacts a price.
7) Satan always wins when God's people are drawn away from the proper calling of the pastor. When Pastors are CEO's--without essential time, energies and a principal focus for ministry of the Word--God's people risk spiritual starvation. Lest they be constantly urged and led by their pastors to be in the Word, the unthinkable becomes reality. Legalism takes hold as the Gospel no longer predominates in all things.
The Pastor-CEO Quiz
Answer each of the following questions "Yes" or "No."
The Pastor-CEO Quiz:
Score And Rating
- 0 "Not at all CEO"
- You're probably lying, in denial, or the mythical "perfect" pastor of the non-existent "perfect" church. Seek spiritual renewal...fast!
- 1-8 "Incipient CEO Tendencies"
- Ministerial health is somewhat significantly at risk threatened. Seek spiritual renewal.
- 9-15 Quasi-CEO
- Definitely at risk for reduced ministerial health. Seek spiritual renewal.
16-20 Full-Blown CEO
- You are in extremely serious need of spiritual and ministry renewal. Seek spiritual renewal!
Is There A CEO In Your Church?
1) Begin re-focusing your ministry on the ministry and power of the Word. In some congregations this can be the greatest challenge. External pressures to maintain the CEO mode can be extraordinary. But you must start somewhere. So start with yourself.
Involve yourself in in-depth study of the Word, significant time in prayer, private meditation and other means to focus on your ongoing spiritual development (cf. Ministry Health articles #243 "God's Little Surprise" and #146 "Twelve Steps Of Transformation" for further insight).
2) Study Christian resources which discuss the teachings of church and ministry. Most denominations have literature in their tradition which discusses these critical issues. C.F.W. Walther's Church and Ministry (Concordia Publishing House) is just one of many Christian standards.
3) Take inventory of your ministry. What "service" areas can you begin to gradually work yourself out of to enable you to focus more on ministry, teaching, equipping and prayer?
4) Teach the congregation what the Scriptural ministry really is. Sermons, Bible Classes, studies with leaders, newsletter articles all go a long way to help them understand God's calling for them.
5) Incorporate a proper understanding of the ministerial office in all congregational vision and mission statements. Refer frequently to these statements to emphasize the role of each member of the Body, the proper authority of the ministerial office, and the primary responsibility to be engaged in a passionate ministry of the Word of God.
6) Implement this understanding. If necessary, move slowing. The learning process takes time. It can take years for the transition to start making headway. Besides, having to wait is probably the best lesson you can have because it makes you depend on the Holy Spirit's action through the Word. That's OK. It's a good lesson. It's what the ministry is about.
7) Start with your leaders. Some of the most effective pastors find that conducting annual workshops on the office of the ministry as part of the new leader orientation is a most effective strategy to maintain and uphold a proper understanding of the ministry of the Word.
8) Pray for your leaders... First that God give you more, Second, that God strengthen the ones you have, and Third, that through your ministry God would move them toward greater enthusiasm, usefulness, and joy in the Word.
9) Delegate the ministry to those upon whom you feel the Holy Spirit can and/or already is at work and upon whom you can lay your hands with the confident blessing of God.
10) Be patient. Patience refers not just to time, but to relationships with people. Some, having been dependent upon their pastor for everything, won't want to give up their dependency. Some people, wanting to discover the joy of service and spiritual growth, will revert back to their old resistant ways.
11) Expect conflict. Welcome conflict as a signal indicating that spiritual renewal is beginning. God's Word works like seeds. The seed grows, as Jesus said, automatically. Cultivate the seed anyway you can...and let God give the growth. See Ministry Health's "Five Commands For Sowers", Article # 237 for more insight.
12) Continually recruit, urge and celebrate people who "make a difference for the Lord." The calling of each member of the Body of Christ is to exercise their faith in a way that makes a difference in the ministry of the Word. Don't deprive them of their calling. Let go of the "reins." Give them some support and opportunities to serve according to their gifts. It may scare you at first. That's OK. It's just a sign that you're growing too!
One Solitary Life
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This page was revised on: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:08 PM