Monday, September 3, 2012

The unimportant Pastor

Being an Easts Tigers rugby man, I meet a lot of Dads on the sideline. For those of you outside Brisbane, Easts is one of the oldest rugby clubs in the city and must surely have one of the largest pack of juniors in the Southern Hemisphere. It's thriving. The boys are either sons of well-to-do professionals or well-to-do tradies. The dads are often old boys from the Catholic schools in the area, like Villanova College. But I'm a former banker and son of an Anglican banker, who came through Cav Road State High.

Inevitably, one of the first things rugby Dads do when they get to know what I do, is start calling me 'Father'. So what's a good way to think about the difference between what I want to do and what a Catholic Priest does?

Maybe it's this: A pastor is a parable of Jesus Christ, not a symbol of God.

Pastors as parables of Jesus bring Jesus to people, and then as quickly as possible become unimportant, unnecessary, superflous to the important thing: a person's relationship with Jesus... It is tempting to extend our effect on people long enough to get adulation and to create the appearance that we are necessary to people... Rather, pastors need to allow their personal effect on people to be powerful, but light-handed and brief.
David Hansen, The Art of Pastoring: Ministry Without All the Answers


  1. An interesting blog post Dave. Being a parable of Jesus Christ has very different implications to being a symbol of God.

  2. Excellent post.

    I often have people tell me of a decision they've come to (marriage, leaving our church, staying at our church) and they ask me if I can give them my blessing.

    I tell them that I don't give blessings. I give advice but leave it up to them what they do. They're big people. And they are responsible for their choices. Not me.

    But there is a type of pastor who needs to be needed. Who develops a stultifying kind of mutual codependency between themselves and their flock.

    They are toxic to the life and maturity of their church.

  3. Thanks for the thought. I found this blog when searching for pastors as being "unimportant", perhaps because I've been trying to pull myself from the center of ministry and orient others into their own servant identities. I'm hoping that people realize that pastors are just people called to do lifelong ministry as servants of God, and that God is the focal point. Not pastor, building or program. Hopefully we point to the real glory and give a vision for that glorious future with our Lord.