Are pastors supposed to be shepherds any more? Or is that idea passé?
If so, have we replaced it with something better? Or worse?
What if we had some raw, unsolicited opinions from the people who matter? Namely, the people in our churches – or those who have left.
We do. If we’ll listen.
Recently, a friend of mine alerted me to a conversation that was happening on his Facebook page about exactly this subject. So I’ll pass it along to you. With some commentary from me.
What Happened to the Pastor as Shepherd?
Here’s what my friend posted:
“Have received 2-3 Facebook & LinkedIn invites to connect recently from a few ‘Professional Certified Life Coach(es)’. Isn’t that the biblical role of a PASTOR? Someone who helps you define your strengths & weaknesses, holds you personally accountable for your life choices & behavior, is there for you through thick & thin?”
In response, he got a handful of positive responses, including one “Preach, brother!” from a pastor.
But he got these responses as well:
“I don’t know what church you go to or have been to but I don’t know any pastor who can do what a life coach does. At least not in the personalized way a coach does. Life coaching encompasses all kinds of things, some personal, some spiritual, some career or vocation-related.”
Okay, I get where that’s coming from, to an extent. Not every pastor will have the skills to deal with every specific behavioral issue. But neither will most life coaches or counselors.
I find it interesting and more than a little sad that this person doesn’t know of “any pastor who can do what a life coach does.” If so, why is that? That’s the premise of my friend’s original post, after all – that this is what pastors are supposed to be doing.
Then came another response:
“Well, as I understand coaching, it’s all about asking good questions and allowing a person to form their own answers. Many Pastors I have known seem to feel they have all the answers, so the questions don’t matter.”
Ouch! That turns the heat up a little and, quite frankly, it stings!
At least this person believes that applies to “many” pastors, not all. But still…ouch!
Then came this comment:
“…that is hilarious. A pastor that helps you define anything other than who would lead a committee! HA! Good one. Nowadays if you are a ‘pastor’ the only spiritual gifting your church wants is administration. Churches are corporations in search of a CEO/CFO type. They certainly don’t want Jesus.”