December 5, 2011
Does the Church Need More 'Chaplains' or 'Leaders'?
Important questions about what the pastor's role is supposed to be.
Our colleague at Christianity Today, Mark Galli, has written an article that has challenged prevailing assumptions about the role of pastors. He responds to the popular belief that healthy and effective pastors should be innovative leaders with dynamic personalities. In other words, pastors ought to resemble the qualities celebrated among secular leaders.
But Galli also responds to the negative connotations associated with "chaplain" pastors--those gifted in pastoral care, the shepherding of souls, and wired for peace and harmony. Some have even identified the presence of chaplain pastors as signs of an unhealthy church.
Here's a brief excerpt from his article:
One wonders where we got our other ideas about the pastorate. For centuries, the pastorate was thought to be about "the cure of souls"—souls being understood not as the spiritual part of us, but as the fullness of our humanity. The pastor has traditionally been thought of as one who does ministry in the midst of a people who are sick and dying, and who administers in word and sacrament, in Scripture and in prayer, the healing balm of the Lord.
So who told us that the pastor is primarily a leader/entrepreneur/change agent and anything but a curer of souls? And why do we believe them?
Check out the full article on the CT website. Then come back and tell us if you agree or disagree with Galli's perspective. Have we incorrectly elevated entrepreneurs in pastoral ministry? Have we diminished chaplain-pastors because they don't fit cultural/secular ideals of leadership? And does the church need more chaplains and fewer leaders?