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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Open Source Churches

Or What Have We Done To Pastors and Ourselves.

Disclaimer: I was a pastor for 12+ years. Loved it most of the time. I still wonder if God will have me back in that place one day in the future.

With that being said, I've been thinking a lately about the position of "pastor". When did it start? What was the original job decription? Why was the position created? How has it changed? What is it now? Lots of stuff out there that is biblical, cultural, and organizational...some really good stuff.

I've seen some really good pastors (or at least what I consider good). I've seen some average ones (or at least what I consider avg). And I've seen some bad ones (or at least what I consider bad). I wonder why that is. Is it character? Skill? Training? Education? Mentoring/relationship? Wiring? Expectation? Probably all of the above.

But one thing I'm noticing, is that it is becoming more professional. And I'm not sure that is a good thing. It gives pastors big egos: it's all about me. It enables lay people to leave the work of the Church to the few, the special, the spiritual elite: I don't have to step up-someone else will do it-I don't have the expertise to do it-I don't have the power to do it. It sets the Church up for an "I declare sayeth the pastor and you doeth follows the lay person" kinda culture. I'm not sure that's healthy. In fact I know it's not.

I'm hoping to see more humble, collaborative, open source ministry (see open source software) minded church influencers. It's a bit idealistic, but it seems to me that's kinda the example that God gives us in the pages of the New Testament. I agree that we live in a different time, place, culture, and orgainzational context, but I still think there are some foundational issues that need to make up the fabric of our churches, para-churches, missions organizations and spiritual institutions. We need everyone to speak into, be apart of, and make loving, kingdom oriented ministry happen.

We need to whole Body to speak into the life and ministry of the church freely, powerfully, and humbly. Once She has spoken then we need to do. Try and make it fit within the mission, vision, and values. It's about giving people ownership of the kingdom endeavor that we are all apart of-good, bad, ugly, success or failure.

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