why do ministers fall – part one

Posted: September 19, 2008 in Christianity
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m currently mulling over the question why does it seem that so many ministers fall? This started with the whole Todd Bentley/Lakeland revival thing. It seems that at least once a year, Christians hear of preachers, teachers, musicians, etc. who stumble into sin or have some secret uncovered that disqualifies them from ministry. Why does it seem to happen so often? I have a few ideas and will be sharing them over the next several weeks.

The first point I want to make is that the positions we as Christians force on our leaders (head pastor, Christian music star, worldwide evangelist and general “man of God”) are designed to fail. These people have so much expectation and pressure to perform, there is hardly any man (or woman) that can withstand it. People put them on a pedestal, looking to these folks (instead of Jesus) as the example of how to live out our faith. Who can handle that kind of pressure? Although Paul regularly defended his right to speak correction to the churches he founded, he never did so based on his own merit or qualifications.

Christians have been lazy. Instead of doing the work of the ministry ourselves, we have raised up people for ourselves to do the ministry for us. We’ve said we’ll go on about our own lives and we’ll pay you to do what we should be doing. We have sub-contracted out the work of the ministry and laid it at the feet of men and women who can’t bear the burden we ask them to carry. It is the body of Christ who is supposed to do the work of the ministry. Ephesians 4:11,12. Pastors, teachers, preachers, etc. are there to build us up so we can do the job, not do the job for us. Oh, its a great deal for us though. We can keep our jobs, reputation, and paycheck unblemished. But while the ministers do what the church body should be doing, many end up alienating family members (been around a preacher’s kid lately?) struggling with secret sin, and barely staying married.  All we have to do is show up once a week and pay them, just like the yard man. And if he doesn’t do a good job, we’ll find another.

Who can stand under that pressure? We created a system that destines ministers to fail and punishes them when they do.  Under this construct, Christianity becomes a belief system devoid of action instead of a lifestyle . In trying to please the ones who pay for their food, house and hobbies, our leaders have become professionals trying to earn their keep.

Wow, that’s cynical. But something to consider.

More to come…

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Comments
  1. blamy says:

    Yeah. Preach it. I would go a step further though, and say we actually pay them TO fail. Watch tv some time. We ENJOY defeat, suffering, and looking better because we’re not as bad as “that person”. Perhaps its fun, because they seem to fall further and harder than we do, so by comparison, we look holy. It gives us something to talk and blog about other than our own sin. Maybe we know they can’t meet the standard, and when they sleep around, it’s just justification for when we do, so it’s an investment in complacency. Churches even take plastic now, so paying is even easier… stop by on the way to the nude bar and swipe your card for a no-guilt evening…. And, pick up your pastor since he’s on his way there anyway! 🙂

    Let’s also remember that “one a year” by your count of pastors that fall isn’t really THAT bad. Think about how many there are total. So, percentage wise, it’s not as bad as it seems. That, and the position of “pastor” (made up though it may be) shouldn’t really be “celebrity” also. Too much on one person. I agree with you.

  2. Sam says:

    Excellent thoughts, James. Paying ministers to fail by setting up unrealistic expectations for their ministry – that’s very true. I love the “sub-contrators” image. Looking forward part 2…

    Sammy

  3. Tracey says:

    Jamie,
    I always get in trouble when I respond to these blogs but alas I have to say I agree and disagree.
    I agree that the body should be doing more than we are. I am very guilty of that myself but I do not think that we are always the ones that put our ministers on a pedestal. I believe a good bit of the time they put themselves there first. It probably starts out very innocent but as time moves on the JOY of being able to help someone turns to PRIDE and well you know what happens then.

  4. Jamie says:

    First of all, you’re always free to post on my blog. Even if I disagree I won’t argue. I love comments!
    Secondly, yes I agree that ministers themselves are partly to blame as well. I am planning at least two more sections on this theme so please check back and see if the ideas I propose resonate with what you’re thinking.
    Thanks for reading.

  5. […] 10?I’m not trying to be alarmist here. Just thinking. In part one, I stated that I thought the system the church has adpoted for full-time ministers is broken and holds the minister to a standard they cannot live up […]

  6. […] many. Is 5 per year OK? Can we settle for that? What about 10? In part one, I stated that I thought the system the church has adpoted for full-time ministers is broken and holds the minister to a standard they cannot live up […]

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