Monday, November 5, 2012

post-pro-pastor pt.1

 let me begin by saying:
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.
...

I used to be paid to be a pastor

- this transaction brought many connotations and expectations (positive and negative) as it was contractual in nature

but when relationship is reduced (or primarily attached) to contract it loses its' essence

*disclaimer: this is simply my journey and may/may not have implications for others

I am not paid to be a husband

I am not paid to be a father

I am not paid to be a friend

...the question I began to ask myself: 'should I be paid to be a pastor?'

the second question: 'can I still be a pastor without being paid'? 

*disclaimer: I have many friends who are paid to be pastors - actually, most of my closest friends are pastors

I am fortunate enough to have marginally marketable skills outside of 'the church' and thus can realistically find alternative work

but for many paid-pastors, their bible school/ seminary degrees have little 'value' in the general marketplace and they can't envision doing anything 'outside' of the church

thus, maintaining homeostasis increases in importance because there are bills to pay

'rocking the boat' becomes seemingly very dangerous because your job is on the line and the gravitational pull is so strong (more on that in pt.4)

I believe there are many, many pastors who sense God leading them in directions that may not align or lend themselves nicely to 'working' for an established church...yet, given the options - they choose to remain

...

for me, the picture of the body of Christ as an actual body has many intriguing implications

many parts...many different parts...working in concert with Christ as the head

as a pastor - which part was/am I? _____________(fill in the blank - haha...rememeber that comments are moderated)

a clarifying question for my role as a pastor: "if I am but one part of this body, how can I rightfully ask other parts to fulfill their role for 'free' (read: monetary compensation) while I am paid to fulfill mine?"

if I truly believe the body is comprised of many equally important parts, why the disparity?

am I, as a pastor better than others? are my gifts more important?

for me, the resounding answer is...no

*disclaimer: I wrote these posts as a series and although I welcome dialogue on each post I would ask that you reserve throwing me under the bus before reading the rest (I'm fragile)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

What does this look like? Leadership in the community? We are a "priesthood" of believers so then are we all called to be unpaid pastors in our community?

Tyson Liske said...

good questions...I am still trying to figure this out for myself

I believe it looks like obedience - and obedience only comes from knowing the One who is calling and pathetically, desperately clinging to Him to live through me

what do you mean by leadership in the community?

hzonscope said...

Work is instituted by God and it is good for us, ,,,all I ask from God in my life is to...
1) work in a honorable profession or at least work honorable with integrity.
2) have a opportunity to serve/work for him,, my family,,, church.
3) provide for my family…. the means.

That being said, labourer or professional to me is not much different and have to come to the view that even clergy are not to immune to the devils handy work which can mess everything up , what we call work. Also the devil can de-rail an honorable profession, that being a pastor or a garbage collector, which have an equal footing in the Lords kingdom.
Here is my dilemma
I work for a large telecom company, working for this company I thought had a honorable profession, because this company provides worthwhile services, made it all ok for years , then this company decides to provide a service to the public that is not God honoring and downright shameful. I know of one person that has quit yet I’m still working for them….. Therefore I can see some of what you are saying even though I’m not a pastor,, but just a servant of God.

RW

Tyson Liske said...

@RW - thanks for your comment.

I appreciate where you're coming from.

keep serving well, as you've been gifted to as long as you're able.

...and thanks for serving well

bwong365 said...

Hey Tyson, I hope I'm ok to comment here, but I did wrestle with a lot of similar issues when considering the vocational pastorate, and a lot of the problems you see happening, I would echo.

But from my personal perspective, I know that I don't make a good tentmaker. I really had a hard time trying to juggle my fulltime (or sometimes parttime) job and ministering at my church back at home. Some people can do it easily. I guess maybe it's possible that means I should've just stuck to making tents.

On the point of trying not to rock the boat; maybe it's a luxury of not having a family to support, but I aim to serve every day with the mentality that I serve the Lord, not men. If I'm removed for moving in a direction He wants that men oppose, then that's just the Lord's will for me. (On the other hand, if I get fired for being an idiot, then I'm just an idiot lol). Like I said, maybe things will change when I get a family and the sin of people pleasing will take over. I desperately hope not, because then "present me" will have to convince "future me" to leave the pastorate.

Church spending has kept me up at nights before. Building renovations could feed a lot of hungry children, or put a lot of Bibles in people's hands.

I don't believe my gifts are better than anyone else's, nor am I perfect, and I hope nobody expects me to be. I won't pretend to call obeying God's will a sacrifice, it's more like trading tin for gold. I often ask the same question, how can I expect others to do ministry on the side when I get paid to do mine? I guess the only answer that I have, and hopefully it's a valid one, is that maybe we have this system in place because it allows pastors to give their full attention to ministry? Instead of working 40 hrs a week and volunteering 20 hours in ministry, we can put that full 60 or 70 hours a week into ministry. Then again, maybe if we didn't have this system in place, the Church would really kick into full gear, and everyone would have incredible commitment, especially those who can multitask life... I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that currently, I'm in a place where I've really felt God leading me for the past 8 years.

I fear that I've said a whole lot of nothing in a ridiculous chunk of space. I've been debating clicking "Publish Your Comment" for almost twenty minutes now. I guess all I can say is I hope that while I'm in this position, I don't want to take this for granted, or kick back and accept self-mediocrity and I hope people hold me accountable to that. We all need each other's support, vocational pastors, lay pastors, and non-pastors alike. I pray that God blesses the ministry He gives you Tyson, and I pray that as a country, even our most complacent churches realize that ministry isn't just for the pastor or the missionary (and that ministry isn't even just inside the church).

Ben

Tyson Liske said...

@Ben - thanks so much for the comment.

I do not paint with so broad a brush and realize that God calls different people to different things - that's what makes the Body so beautifully formed.

let's continue this dialogue.

and thanks for pushing 'send'

Anonymous said...

Why did the comments fimish here ?
There is so much more I need to read.
MWB

Tyson Liske said...

MWB

thanks for reading

I'm now blogging at ineloquentanthem.com

please join the conversation there