Home > The Holy Cross, The Preaching Office > The Reason So Many Lutheran Pastors are Too Rigid, Bad with People, and Lazy

The Reason So Many Lutheran Pastors are Too Rigid, Bad with People, and Lazy


Pastor, we'd like to help you understand the kinds of qualities you need to develop in order not to alienate the younger generation, which we notice are not really coming here anymore.  We think it's because you're not as friendly and positive as you might be.  After all, it's hard to imagine what else in this congregation might need some work.

Ahem. Pastor, we’d like to help you understand the kinds of qualities you need to develop in order not to alienate the younger generation, which we notice are not really coming here anymore. We think it’s because you’re not as friendly and positive as you might be. After all, it’s hard to imagine what else in this congregation might need some work.

http://surburg.blogspot.com/2013/03/brother-pastor-ive-got-your-back.html

Brother pastor, I want you to know that I’ve got your back.  My first move will always be to believe you and to believe in you.  When I hear accusations against you, my first assumption will be that they are not true.  I will not speak publicly about accusations as if they were true.
I say this because I know what it is like out there in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.  It’s open season on pastors, and especially on pastors who want to practice what the Scriptures say and what the Book of Concord confesses.

….When you were ordained and installed…you believed what the Scriptures say about the Office and its responsibilities. You knew that Paul had

Now this pastor, Bob, could maybe use a little work in the area of appropriate clergy attire.  A little less color would be better; preferably a nice black academic gown.  On the other hand, Pastor Bob really seems to understand the proper way in which to make God's people feel welcome.  Notice how he announces himself to parishioners like a waiter, evidencing a real servant's heart.  Also, he is aware that his ministry depends on the ongoing satisfaction of his client base, which is why he says "I'll be your pastor today" and not "I'm your pastor."  He gets that he serves as our pastor as long as we are pleased with his service and appears to be successful.  This kind of attitude of service will carry him far if he can also produce pleasing, entertaining, not too long sermons in about 20 minutes and make sure that he spends the rest of the week visiting the hospital and homebound members without saying anything that irritates them.  Also if he can work confirmation around the 3 catechumens' busy schedules, make sure that the parents are happy and don't feel that they have to work too hard, but also satisfy our consciences that we aren't simply rubber-stamping kids in order to keep their parents from leaving--well, if he can do all that he has a bright career ahead of him.

Now this pastor, Bob, could maybe use a little work in the area of appropriate clergy attire. A little less color would be better; preferably a nice black academic gown. On the other hand, Pastor Bob really seems to understand the proper way in which to make God’s people feel welcome. Notice how he announces himself to parishioners like a waiter, evidencing a real servant’s heart. Also, he is aware that his ministry depends on the ongoing satisfaction of his client base, which is why he says “I’ll be your pastor today” and not “I’m your pastor.” He gets that he serves as our pastor as long as we are pleased with his service and appears to be successful. This kind of attitude of service will carry him far if he can also produce pleasing, entertaining, not too long sermons in about 20 minutes and make sure that he spends the rest of the week visiting the hospital and homebound members without saying anything that irritates them. Also if he can work confirmation around the 3 catechumens’ busy schedules, make sure that the parents are happy and don’t feel that they have to work too hard, but also satisfy our consciences that we aren’t simply rubber-stamping kids in order to keep their parents from leaving–well, if he can do all that he has a bright career ahead of him.

said, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood (Acts 20:28). You knew that that Peter wrote, “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).  And so you knew that God had placed you to care for that congregation.  God had placed you, and therefore you were keeping watch over those for whom you “will have to give an account” before him (Heb 13:17).

You believed what your ordination vows say: that the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice; that the Ecumenical Creeds are faithful testimonies to the truth of the Holy Scriptures; that the Book of Concord is a true exposition of Holy Scripture and a correct exhibition of the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Lutheran Service Book Agenda, 166-167).

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” It is found the Small Catechism’s Table of Duties and in the installation rite of a pastor (Lutheran Service Book Agenda, 180).

And so you believed the congregation when it answered “We will, with the help of God,” to the question, “Will you receive him, show him that love, honor and obedience in the Lord that you owe to the shepherd and teacher placed over you by your Lord Jesus Christ, and will you support him by your gifts and pray for him always that in his labors he may retain a cheerful spirit, and that his ministry among you may be abundantly blessed” (Lutheran Service Book Agenda, 180).

But I also know the reality.  There are congregations that don’t believe Lutheran theology all that deeply.  Some congregations would rather operate in the way of American evangelicalism….. Some congregations don’t want to practice closed communion, even though it is the biblical and the official stance of our synod – especially when it involves their ELCA family member.  Some congregations don’t want to practice pastoral discipline towards those who are living together outside of marriage – especially when it involves their son or daughter. Some congregations have powerful forces who know it is their church.  Pastors come and pastors go but the congregational leaders are really in charge and they don’t need to follow anyone. There are alligators in the water.

Awhile back under the previous synodical administration there were a series of conferences about the ministry entitled “Who’s in charge.”  You had already learned the answer to that question for the LCMS.  The congregation is in charge.  In a congregational polity, they write your pay check and therefore they are in charge.  They are in charge because you learn very quickly that from the district president’s perspective the pastor is expendable.  You can always get another one.  Congregations can’t be replaced.  Therefore the congregation can do almost anything because no one is going to remove it from synod.And so here’s how it works.  Influential congregation members decide for any number of reasons that they don’t want you as pastor.  The reasons are not legitimate. But that doesn’t matter.  They begin to work in the congregation to stir up criticism and resentment.  They look for any opportunity to take offense at you.  They make life uncomfortable by refusing to give you a raise and by lowering your health care coverage.

Now this man really looks like he has the stuff of a great preacher.  Notice, pastor: he doesn't need to wear a funny dress to preach.  A white suit is just fine, just like it was for Pat Boone and Billy Sunday and the apostles.  I remember when I was a kid in West Virginia, all the preachers had floppy bibles and combed their hair just like this.  And you know what?  Churches were full of young people!  You know when the Missouri Synod churches started shrinking?  When they started wearing different colored stoles and having communion more than once a month and chanting.  That's what you need, pastor--a floppy bible and a white suit.  That will help you with your rigidity.  If you want to be successful as a pastor, you've really got to lose the rigidity about worship and teaching and instead get a floppy bible and start putting Brylcreem in your hair, so that you look like a real preacher who knows the bible instead of a catholic priest who just listens to whatever his authorities tell him.

Now this man really looks like he has the stuff of a great preacher. Notice, pastor: he doesn’t need to wear a funny dress to preach. A white suit is just fine, just like it was for Pat Boone and Billy Sunday and the apostles. I remember when I was a kid in West Virginia, all the preachers had floppy bibles and combed their hair just like this. And you know what? Churches were full of young people! You know when the Missouri Synod churches started shrinking? When they started wearing different colored stoles and having communion more than once a month and chanting. That’s what you need, pastor–a floppy bible and a white suit. That will help you with your rigidity. If you want to be successful as a pastor, you’ve really got to lose the rigidity about worship and teaching and instead get a floppy bible and start putting Brylcreem in your hair.  Rigid hair is okay.  Insisting that we keep every other thing in the church exactly the same as we think it was in the 1950s, when God still walked in the garden with us–that’s the right kind of rigidity.  But in doctrine you have to be flexible.  Times change.  You gotta love people.

If this doesn’t get rid of you fast enough, they start to contact your circuit counselor and district president.  They are still operating in the church and so they couch

This guy went to Fort Wayne, I bet.Anyway, this is an example of the very kinds of things you don't want to do if you want to be a successful pastor. First of all, the guy clearly thinks he's better than everyone else. Secondly, his preaching is far too sharp.   People want to come to church and feel good, not have some preacher staring us down from the pulpit and calling us sinners to repent. Plus, clearly he needs to consider his work ethic.  He obviously is arrogant and thinks his books are more important than loving the people.Why is he sitting down with a book?  That's not what he's getting paid to do. On top of all this, why is he wearing a robe all day?  That's just weird. This is 2013.  He seems to think he's somehow different or set apart, that he's got to wear a white robe all the time.

This guy went to Fort Wayne, I bet.
Anyway, this is an example of the very kinds of things you don’t want to do if you want to be a successful pastor.
First of all, the guy clearly thinks he’s better than everyone else.
Secondly, his preaching is far too sharp.
People want to come to church and feel good, not have some preacher glowering at us from the pulpit with flaming eyes and calling us sinners to repent.  I heard part of this guy’s sermon on You Tube and he was talking about vomiting the congregation out of his mouth.  What about “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so?” 
Plus, clearly he needs to consider his work ethic. He obviously is arrogant and thinks his books are more important than loving the people.Why is he sitting down with a book? That’s not what he’s getting paid to do.
On top of all this, why is he wearing a robe all day?Why does the chair in his office look like a throne?  Did he get that approved before he bought it, or did he pay for it out of his own pocket?  I know I wouldn’t have approved of buying a throne out of the church budget.  But see, that’s what happens when the congregational leaders don’t keep a close eye on the pastor. 

 

 

 

their accusations in the form of: “He doesn’t have good people skills.”; “He’s lazy.”; “He’s too rigid.”  The circuit counselor and district president may share the same beliefs as the congregation.  They may not want to be biblical and Lutheran in practice, and so they are only too happy to take its side.  There is talk of “syndical reconcilers” and the like, but the die has been cast.

Finally, the congregation just declares that after such and such a date, it will no longer pay you.  Perhaps the leaders have met with the district president and out of “Christian love” they have agreed to give you a six month “severance package.”  You learn that your divine call means nothing because the congregation writes the checks and the district doesn’t want to lose the congregation.

…Because of what the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions say about the Office of the Holy Ministry, there are occasions when you or I may need to be removed.  This is necessary when there is immoral conduct such as

First of all the guy needs to get a haircut.  Secondly, why is he glaring?  Gosh, you'd think pastors would be grateful, considering how much they get paid for doing so little work.  This kind of attitude is not going to work in the ministry.  It doesn't matter if we're sitting in the back of the church doing shots and yelling out insults against Pastor Calov's mother, wife, and deceased infant children.  He's supposed to be joyful and never get the slightest bit upset, even if we cut his family's insurance and ask why he doesn't do what a real Christian would do and do his 5 hours of preaching a week for free.  We have real jobs that are hard that we do.  Well, we used to do them and we often worked more than forty hours a week.  With all the work we do we don't need to come here and look at some lazy pastor who works, what, 5 hours a week? and then makes rude faces at the congregation.  Who does he think he is?  One good thing about this guy though is the nice geneva robe he has on.  Other than that, he really needs to work on his attitude..

First of all the guy needs to get a haircut. Secondly, why is he glaring? Gosh, you’d think pastors would be grateful, considering how much they get paid for doing so little work.
This kind of attitude is not going to work in the ministry. It doesn’t matter if we’re sitting in the back of the church doing shots and yelling out insults against Pastor Calov’s mother, wife, and deceased infant children. He’s supposed to be joyful and never get the slightest bit upset, even if we cut his family’s insurance and ask why he doesn’t do what the apostle Paul did and do his pastoring for free after he gets done with his day job. We have real jobs where we have to work forty hours a week–sometimes more.  We don’t need to come to church to get scowled at.  And what’s with the foreign language on his picture?  Isn’t that Latin?  I thought Martin Luther got rid of that, along with private confession and absolution, the Virgin Mary, and the idea that pastors are allowed to say anything besides what we already know and agree with.  Clearly this guy is a closet Catholic and thinks he’s better than us.  About the only thing this guy has going for him is the black graduation robe.  That’s what real preachers wear, if you ask me.

fornication, adultery, sexual abuse or theft.  It must happen when there is false doctrine and a refusal to admit this and repent.  It will be necessary if you or I abandon the responsibilities for which we have been called (and the standard of proof on this must be exceptionally high – this is not to be a tool for removing faithful pastors). Where there is clear and unambiguous evidence this must happen.

What I won’t do is speak publicly about accusations as if they were true when there is no such evidence.  I won’t do it because the greatest threat to the ministry of the LCMS is not lazy pastors or pastors with bad people skills or pastors who make mistakes.  The greatest threat is a general denial of the Office of the Holy Ministry and what it means for the way God deals with the congregation and the way congregations need to relate to their pastor.  I won’t speak in a way that supports this denial.  Brother pastor, I’ve got your back.

 

 

 

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. March 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: