Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Losing My Ordination Papers Means Losing My Soul?!

"Nobody likes to be treated like an idiot in the workplace and senior pastors (many, but obviously not all) seem to be experts in treating people badly."

Got your attention, didn't it? This is just one quote from a good mate of mine Nick, whose post on why ministers are "getting out of ministry" was written in response to this statement by a so-called Pillar of the AOG in Australia, a man who holds himself up as a supreme example to others of success and godliness:

"It is a tragedy that there are so many pastors out there no longer in ministry ... It is because these inactive ministers no longer pay any attention to their relationship with God that they were now not serving."

Apart from the bizarre leap of logic evident in this statement, apart from its offensiveness, it perpetrates a dangerous assumption: favour with God = position and performance in the local attractional church, and the more pentecostal the church, the better.

But I think what makes me saddest of all about a comment like that is that there are people vulnerable enough to believe it, not the least of whom were the hapless Bible College graduates to whom the comment was addressed. Though many of them will be self-defined and spiritual enough to shrug it off, some unfortunately will continue to equate spiritual status (ie., where you fit on God's pyramid) with their position as professional clergy.

I totally respect professional Pastors who are non-full-of-themselves. I just wish they were the ones who had the ear of most Christians, rather than ratbags like the bloke quoted above. [Sigh]

Nick's post is worth the read, I promise. :) Click here to go there.

12 comments:

Yehudi01 said...

So, is it that they lose focus once they leave the bible college? Do they get greedy? Did they never have a foundational understanding of what it is to serve G-d? Interesting. I asked a christian friend, (who is a pastor), why so few pastors don't stay the course. He had no idea. There are very few that are still pastoring 10 yrs after getting started.

dave goode said...

cant see the post! hmmmm...

Pete Aldin said...

Dave, sorry bro, I don't know why that is.

Yehudi, thank you for your visit and your comment. There are 3 reasons in my experience:

1. Burnout. They try to do what they were never asked to do by the Lord in the first place; they place the expectations of humans above the reasonable expectations of their Heavenly Father.
2. Sin (as in they have an affair, or steal money, or - in the case of my ex-pastor who is yet to be brought to account - they use mindcontrol to milk the people of the church dry and damage people's faith and mental health, glorifying themselves far above God).
3. A true understanding that ministry is not the domain of "professional holy men" but the responsibility of all believers in our God. These people - myself included - return to a lifestyle which embraces work, family and non-beleievers and find ways to serve (ie., "minister") to them. Pastor is an invented word to justify elevating people to a higher level of power and responsibility than God intended.

dave goode said...

yeh its weird, the link works, but it says that he hasnt written a blog yet?

Yehudi01 said...

Interesting...my mind immediately wants to draw a comparison...
I certainly don't have hard figures and I wouldn't even want to speculate on the number of Orthodox Jewish rabbis that have fallen from their position on account of sin or some other 'character' issue, but I do know that it is virtually unheard-of. Very seldom. I'm not going to even pretend to know why it almost never happens in Judaism, (in the Orthodox sect, I can't speak for the others), but seem to happen more often than not in the Christian arena. I just find it very interesting.

I do know that Judaism places a very high emphasis on character developement, commuinity involvement, and a tremendous foundation in the scriptures, (Torah and Talmud). I really think that that these play a part. Also, sins such as adultery and theft are big no-no's in our community and an average Yosef could find himself in alot of trouble for such acts...unthinkable for a rabbi. It leaves me thinking that perhaps the view of a rabbi isn't one of position, power, and influence, as seems to be the case with many pastors, though it doesn't sound like you have that issue. I like your blog...I look forward to coming back if you don't mind.

Pete Aldin said...

I'm fascinated by what you're saying - and you are welcome any time my friend. Truly.

I think you may have put your finger on it. I will not claim to be of the level of character I aspire to as yet. And never in my pastoral training was this addressed. My pentecostal community often made excuses for my character flaws or overlooked them or just didn't see them because the people concerned had their own pciture of what I was. This is devestatingly dangerous for the "pastor".

I now revel in spiritual friends with whom I can enjoy a laugh, who will give me a firm kick in the pants when I need it, who will spur me on to greater heights, to true holiness and the pursuit of God for His own ends not mine.

Thanks so much for your contribution ot my understanding of "what's broke" in much of western church culture.

Yehudi01 said...

This little thread has been discussing, "What's broke," in western church culture, and I am hardly an authority on the subject...however I am quick to point out that amid all it's flaws, the christian church has done something remarkable...
They have pointed billions of goyim, non-Jews, toward worshipping the G-d of Avraham, Yitzchak, v'Ya'akov. There are obviously doctrinal issues that we don't see eye to eye on, however...
my brethren were mandated by Hashem to be light-bearers to the gentile nations, to be teachers of G-d's Torah, and we have failed miserably at that.

We can clearly blame it on a number of things, such as our dispersion, the destruction of our Temple, (which was the central place of learning), and horrific persecutions. The fact of the matter is, at the end of the day we kept to ourselves and refused to share what Hashem had so freely given us. The christian church has taken the ball and you're running down the field with it. Good job!

I'm not going to bash you, call you an idolater, etc...because you have an opinion regarding Jesus. I've been through that with others..some on my blog, some on others' blogs. That gets very old. I think it's more productive to celebrate what we have in common and build from there....so to start with I would say 'Thank you' for being a man that loves the G-d of Yisrael and is commited to bringing others into the congregation of Hashem. Blessings to you and your family.

Pete Aldin said...

My friend I am truly humbled by your words and I don't know how to respond other than to say that I receive your blessings, I offer mine to you and to your family and friends, and I hope that the way I write causes you no offence now or in future.

It's truly wonderful that we can celebrate what we have in common. And I thank you for the gracious way you've honored the Church. I agree with you that much much good has been done and continues to be done, and I honor the men women and even children who carry the word and light to others.

And I'm curious: Hashem is not a word or name I'm familiar with...

Yehudi01 said...

Pete, 'Hashem' is Hebrew and translates,"the name"....it is a little generic, but observent Jews refer to G-d as HaShem...the Name, to avoid using 'G-d' frivolously, as it is written, "You shall not take the Name of Hashem your G-d in vain.." Ex 20:7. Orthodox Jews reserve His name(s) for prayer only, and refer to Him as Hashem at all other times. It is for reverence.

I took a look at your other website, and I'm curious...why aren't you pastoring anymore? Or are you? Is your consulting business doing well? My wife and I are moving to Israel, (making aliyah), in about 19 mos, and so I am trying to find a profession that I can take with me that is international...I am really leaning towards web design. I'm not sure, though. Right now I am an auto broker and work out of my home most days. In fact, I should probably do a little work now...talk to you soon!

Pete Aldin said...

Thanks, now I understand. Appreciate that. As for your questions (and your question about writing about Exodus), why don't we continue the conversation via email?

Rather than putting email addresses out here where anyone/thing can use them, you can go to http://www.greatcircle.com.au/contact-us/ and use my online contact form. Then your address will come through to me without others seeing it...

Short answer here is: leaving professional Ministry-with-a-Capital-M came first for two reasons. The business literally grew out of God's leadings and dealings in my life.

Have you seen Job Mob? It's an Israeli jobsearch blog, excellent stuff, written by a good man Jacob. It's at http://jobmob.co.il/

Ann said...

Pete, I've enjoyed reading your blog! You're a blessing!
Keep up the great work!

Pete Aldin said...

Glad to have you visit, Ann. Your translation of the prayer for our children (in military service) was moving.