Called to be a Pastor?

It is surprising to learn that the modern office of "Pastor" is one unknown in Scripture. There was no such thing as a "Pastor," as we now know it, found in the New Testament church. It certainly was not God's idea, at least not if He is the loving Father I have come to know Him to be.

God's Fabulous Five

Only someone sincerely deceived could ever believe that God would want anyone to do everything that is expected of the person we call "Pastor." "Pastors" need to be wonderful teachers, provide pastoral care for each member of the flock in an intimate and one on one basis, reach out to and evangelize the community, continually receive a fresh prophetic "Word from the Lord," and attain an apostolic level of spiritual authority where their voice is heard and respected both on earth and in heaven. They need to be an administrative genius, public relations expert, competent counsellor, and magnificent orator. No one, and I do mean no one, is that gifted. No one person could do the job. In fact, it would take two, three, four or more. Actually, to be biblically correct, it would take five. How marvellous it is that those five are clearly mentioned in God's Word. There is no mystery here, no marvellous revelation, only a simple understanding of a clear concept found in Holy Writ.

"And he gave some, apostles;
and some, prophets;
and some, evangelists;
and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints,
for the work of the ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith,
and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
unto a perfect man,
unto the measure of the stature
of the fulness of Christ:"(KJV)

Five Fold.

Apostolic Team

Each of those job titles is the role of one individual, part of a team. Each local church leadership team needs those who operate with Apostolic authority, Prophets who hear from God, Evangelists who can draw in the net, Pastors who love and care for the flock, and Teachers who explain what it is all about. The present perversion of scriptural leadership known as "Pastor" is really an amalgam of all five. The primacy of this one-person-leader must come to an end, or the church will never move ahead. In fact, she will die.

The Lie

When I was the "pastor" of a church, it was expected that I would be the "Man of God" for that group of people, for that town, for the entire area. I was to be all things to all people. Since I knew I was not, I thought I could fast, pray, study, and discipline myself into what I lacked. All that happened was that the gifts I did have became stronger, and I became very frustrated when I could not become what I was not. I felt like a fake, like a fraud. I was not. The system was! The religious system that said I could do it all and be everything to everybody was in error. It was unBiblical, and damaging to both pulpit and pew. Like so many others, I believed a lie.

"Pastor Ken"

Unscriptural leadership paradigms die hard. Fifteen years of being a "pastor" (assistant, associate, senior, on staff, whatever) in the Pentecostal denomination in which I was raised led to a complete nervous breakdown, total moral failure, and the absolute disintegration of my life. Yet I still went back at it. For five years after my collapse and restoration, I continued on in that role. It took more than my personal failures and the frustration of trying to do what could not be done to convince me of the impossibility of present leadership models of the church. It took a Biblical revelation, and hearing from God personally.

In 1996 I felt God speak to my heart that I was to step out of the role of a "Pastor." I thought it would be for a short season. Six months at the most. "Sweet Caroline" and I would get married in June, and by the end of the Summer we would start a new church. Six months came and went, and there was still no sign of God leading in that direction at all. We decided that the Lord was giving us the Old Testament year off for newlyweds. But I was devastated. My identity as "Pastor Ken" was gone and I felt as if my life was destroyed. I no longer knew who or what I was. I had lived, prayed, preached, and ministered as a "Pastor." I knew nothing else.

For the entire year I earnestly sought the Lord with my questions. "Am I really called to be a ‘Pastor'?" "Was I ever called to be a ‘Pastor'?" The answer I received in 1997 shocked me. The answer was a resounding "NO!!!". But what I believe the Lord showed me next surprised me even more. The truth is, no one at any time in history or in any place in the world has ever been called to fulfill the ministry office we call "Pastor," because before God, it does not exist.

Oh yes, there are God-called, God-ordained, and God-anointed Pastors. The challenge is to discover what it is they (and the other members of God's Five Fold Ministry/Leadership Team) are really called to do. Sometimes to discover what you are called to do you need to find out what your calling is not. We cannot come to know the truth until we have been dissuaded of our lies.

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