I Don’t Believe in Pastors

I Don’t Believe in Pastors July 20, 2019
pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

I Don’t Believe in Pastors

I never thought I would say that I don’t believe in pastors. Thirty years of ministry, and a senior pastor myself helps me to appreciate the irony of proclaiming that I don’t believe in pastors. Perhaps that shocks you, but please allow me to explain. Let me start from the premise that originally, the word “pastor” was referred to as “a gift”. I’m talking about way back when Pentecost happened. The gift came from within and flowed out of a believer naturally, as needed.

Anyone Can Be paternal, Not Everyone Is

Some people are parental in nature, helping to mold and shape others. They invest in others, making deposits that will bring about change and growth. Not everyone has the ability to parent effectively. Human beings can have children, but to be heralded as a parent is earned. People who flow with the pastoral gift do so without recognition and as naturally as they breathe.

What is this gift?

pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

It’s important to recognize the pastoral gift because it’s role is not to rule, but to serve. Pastors can claim to serve, but a servant is not paid, nor does a gift have say over a person. A pastor can summon someone to a meeting to decide their membership but a pastoral gift does nothing but sow.

Lords and Ladies

The pastoral gift is unconditionally given without assertion of any Lordship. A parent who loves their adult children invests in them, he does not ask them to invest in him. Truly, a body relationship between its members is reciprocal, everyone invests in each other. This is the heart of a gift, it gives without taking, and if I can convince you of that, perhaps you will see the difference of a gift and a glorified title that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ.

pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

Not “The” One

There were other gifts that work within the body of Christ. No gift is more important than another. This is also a clarifying revelation that must be considered. If all gifts share equal importance, how did one gift exalt itself against the other gifts? If all are the gifts, then perhaps all should receive titles, authority and lordship over the body? I don’t think so. This would nullify Christ and the individuality that provides us precious freedom as children of God.

Community

What we see in the book of Acts is pure community with equal representation. Every member had a voice and was important. They prayed together to make decisions, and when they couldn’t decide something, they even cast lots. This is akin to taking a deck of cards out today and cutting the deck, allowing the high card to decide a direction. Some people would find this ridiculous but I see the disciples as normal people trying to spread the good news.

Balance

pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

Can you imagine? No boss, no human leader, but a community. It didn’t matter what gifts poured out of you, everyone was equal. That is what we see in the book of Acts. They didn’t meet at one place, but shared the burden of meetings. That kept a certain equity, a balance. It also kept one person or a small group from becoming a government. When an organism becomes an organization, the hierarchy that is Antichrist in nature, rears its ugly head.

Someone Has To Lead

Oh, they had a leader, but it wasn’t a titled pastor, it wasn’t even a book. There was no book. They had a head, but it wasn’t leadership or the guy making six figures a year with nice suits. Care to venture a guess? Their leader and head was the Holy Spirit. Back then people believed you could hear the holy spirit speaking, and people listened. They didn’t have a new testament law yet. One that would later replace a spontaneous relationship with Christ.

pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

Direction

When they prayed, those groups of people were asking God for direction. They weren’t arguing about what behavior is acceptable to God or which politician was Jesus’s chosen representative on earth. Believers didn’t fight over what a verse meant or spend their time as the Pharisees did, straining at a gnat by examining their scriptures and looking for a new revelation. They didn’t sit in a building and listen, to go back to their lives without impacting others. They lived it.

Simple, Beautiful and Spontaneous

They wanted to know where to share the good news next. The great commission was much more simple, and so easy to do. Their complication was when government wanted to kill them for the threat they represented. When they got together, it wasn’t to discuss the next building project, but who to tell and where. The enjoyment behind this was that signs and wonders followed them as a witness to THIS good news: That God didn’t withhold relationship based on behavior. That is what we all wanted when we got “saved” right? We wanted to “make it to Heaven”. Its good news to hear that we are indeed, eternal.

No Debt Exists

pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

That good news back then was about God not holding our offenses against us. Telling the good news of God’s love that allows everyone into the kingdom. To let people know that there was no punishment for us for our wrongdoings. People got behind that message and shared it with the world. This was truly good news. When your heart hears good news, it recognizes it and responds.

Time Changes Everything

Times sure have changed since then. If indeed we have an adversary, the culprit is time. We cannot open a window to the past and this is often to our detriment. When left to the constraints of our current societal perceptions, human beings tend to interpret the past based upon their understanding at the present.

pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

Not Supposed to be a Mediator

A nurturing gift that functioned WITH the body somehow became a titled lord OVER the body. The headship of Christ was replaced with the leadership of a church. A gift that found its operation within, instead exalted itself against Christ. Now, we have pastors who have a gift, but use it as a mediator between Christ and man.

Sit Down and Shut Up

Pastors tell us we need to sit and listen while Christ unctions us to go and share. Pastors want our submission but do not submit to us when, if we do follow a standard, we are supposed to submit one to another. When is the last time the pastor ran a decision by you, his lowly congregant?

Are Churches ER’s?

pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

Churches are called “emergency rooms” for the supposedly “spiritually sick”. In actuality, we are called to go to people who believe that God has separated himself from us because of our behavior. Sometimes, these people are physically ill and when we utilize the power of faith to heal them, they are more apt to listen to good news.

Pastors Are Needed By Religion

I don’t believe in pastors because I don’t see the need for them except in religion. The holy spirit is our teacher and can guide us in all truth. Pastors, including myself in the past, teach you that you have to be bible led, but God wants you to have an active spirit led life. A pastoral gift can be of use in the midst of the body, but not as its master and head.

pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

Mine is Bigger Than Yours!

I remember the progression over the last thirty years. When men started saying that the apostle was more important and somehow greater than a pastor. That if you were an apostle, you had a higher office. How ridiculous is that? Two gifts calling themselves offices and fighting over who is the boss. When I sat in a room with our cities “spiritual leaders”, each one introduced themselves with a more grandiose story. It’s tiring to be in a roomful of fishermen with tall tales of bigger fish.

All Fit in Christ

Christ is supposed to be our head, the voice we listen to within. Not, a pastor that tells us that what we have heard in our heart to do doesn’t fit in with the vision of “his church”. We have gifts that the holy spirit disperses at will as a part of our role. We are one body, and we can listen and discern truth together. That is why we need each other, for checks and balances. We don’t need a pastor to decide what the direction is for his church when we all agree to work together. It’s not as hard as it seems, it does takes a little humility.

Practicum

pastors
From The Frustrated Grace Series

Let’s say that Joe feels God has been speaking to him about a certain endeavor, and he needs the support of other believers to get it done. Everyone gets together and Joe brings up what is on his heart. They pray and if this is what is on their hearts, they get it done. If not, they let Joe know that this is not the direction they are going to go in right then. Joe still has options and can stay in fellowship with the believers in his area. He can also reach out to other camps with his vision and possibly find support. It’s not a perfect system, but walking in love is paramount to its success.

The Body In Motion

This is the body in action. Not the silliness I used to engage in where I thought I had to have a bible verse for every action I took and on every conference brochure. It wasn’t the times that I acted with pride and arrogance as I dismissed people “beneath me”. I laugh at how childish I was when I thought I was all grown up. Now, I know better, but I am still a child in this big old universe. I’m trying to encourage you to believe we can.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • soter phile

    it deeply saddens me how often you ignore overt & repeatedly emphasized teachings in God’s Word.

    apostles (‘sent ones’), shepherds, elders (presbuteros), overseers (episcopos), deacons, etc.
    reading this blog you’d think those words weren’t even in Scripture – much less commanded roles.

    ironically, your attempt to jettison pastors only highlights the Church’s need for them.

  • Soter, I am so sorry you are saddened. The pastor is a gift in scripture, not a title. Unfortunately, when you read, perhaps you missed that information. I believe in the gifts and their operation. I believe in their necessity. The baby has not been thrown out with the bathwater. Also, scripture is not the bible, although you can find spirit breathed word in there and our discernment is a witness to that. Scripture is God breathed inspiration and it has happened far more than what is contained in the bible. Thank you for your comments, PK

  • FrustratedGrace

    Hello, and thanks so much for coming back. I’m enjoying the conversation. It sounds like we come from similar pasts. I do agree with everything you are saying. Not sure what you mean by “more organic structure”? I would love for you to explain.

    As far as “biblical”, I hope you would allow me to tread lightly here and say that I have learned that even the bible doesn’t ask us to be “biblical”. I believe that when we are led by the spirit, we are engaged in a life of discerning truth. That truth comes from every direction which makes discernment important. When we listen to someone preach/speak/share truth, some things connect with us on a spiritual level and it’s that “bam” of revelation that hits us. We KNOW we have WITNESSED truth and so we allow it to be “written on our hearts”. It keeps us in relationship and teaches us how to “walk” in truth. That being said, we can find God and God’s words IN the bible BUT the bible is not wholly God’s word. There are statements within the compiled text of the bible that witness as truth in our hearts AND there are those that absolutely do not. There are truths in there that were okay for the time they were written and even thought of as radical. Like the admonition that women could, “sit and learn” when they had previously not been allowed where the men were. Today, that’s laughable and not applicable. It becomes obsolete. I hope I am making sense here.

    I could go on but I shall stop there. I totally agree that the gifts are to function within the body but not as lords over the body. Christ is the head and the gifts do not belong there.

    I am a repentant former “Pastor”. Thanks friend, PK

  • Naked Before God

    It does indeed seem like we have come from similar paths! And we have walked a similar road to freedom.

    I hope I can better explain what I speak of a “more organic structure”. I see the 5-fold leadership as emerging organically. Relationally. Not happening when a person goes for theological training and ends up applying for and getting a position of some kind, but leaders naturally emerging from within the local body. Yes, some can go from one church to another, but they function together more organically and relationally, rather than just as cogs in some organizational machine.

    Your view of and relationship with the Bible is somewhat different than mine (mine being a bit more traditional), but I find that difference refreshing, even gently challenging . . . and in a very good way.

    Thank you for so wonderfully sharing your journey. It is a blessing to me on mine.

  • FrustratedGrace

    Yes, and yes, I totally agree with your organic perception of things. I don’t know that the gifts would even stand out as such, but we would see individuals expressing love and being loved. That is counting it all joy! lol Thanks my friend for explaining. Hit the nail on the head! PK

  • The church system that most of us know is flawed. For some reason we feel we are unable to hear from the Spirit for ourselves and we need a middleman (woman) to teach us and tell us what God is saying. I do not understand why we are so quick to listen to other human beings when we have the Spirit of God living inside us by the Spirit. We all have gifts to be used to build up and encourage one another, but no one has the authority to speak for God and tell us what we should be doing. Good article PK.

  • soter phile

    i don’t know which is more ridiculous: that you are a “repentant former ‘pastor'” (ostensibly not for moral failings but simply for holding the office?) or that you supposedly held that position yet clearly don’t know the biblical languages & references.

    case in point: the English word ‘pastor’ arose from the Latin around the 12th century. it’s anachronistic (and asinine) to insist that particular word be in the Scriptures.

    it’s also ridiculous because the word ‘pastor’ means shepherd – a word used repeatedly to refer to church leaders – especially by Jesus himself.

    moreover, even a cursory read of the NT quickly reveals that presbuteros & episcopos are two Greek terms that refer directly to such shepherding. why do you think 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus have come to be called “the pastoral epistles”? those letters were written to pastors! (For example, note well how Paul refers to Timothy throughout the letters – called to lead & not to let anyone look down on him due to his age… what position are you claiming Timothy held if not pastor of that church?).

    and one is left to wonder if you’ve even glanced at any writings of the early Church. are you really claiming that within 50 years, a ‘new’ office arose that used those same terms but meant something radically different? again, this is virtually contemporary corroboration of use that makes your claims logically untenable.

    At best, you & PK are pointing at sinful abuses of a biblical office and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, God have mercy on us.

  • soter phile

    Even just a quick perusal of:
    – how Jesus regards the Scriptures throughout his life (even quoting the OT on the cross)
    – how Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit (always pointing back to Jesus)
    – the role of the Spirit in the Scriptures (including writing them!)

    One is only left to wonder what ‘god’ & ‘spirit’ you are referencing.
    Because clearly whatever you mean is utterly divorced from the only Jesus known to history.