The idea of ministry as a vocation has started to become a bit of a strange idea to me lately. The idea that a pastor is supposed to be following God's leadership and preaching the Word of God to people on a weekly basis regardless of how much that Word could offend people, while at the same time being paid by the money that those same people bring as a offering seems to put a pastor in a very difficult place. If it is the pastor's role to be a truth teller and to give people a Word from God on a weekly basis then chances are that those words are not always going to tickle the ear of the listener. And let's be quite frank, people don't always like to hear things that challenge their lives of comfort. I'm not saying that pastors should always be beating up their congregations with their sermons but there are going to be times when the church needs to be given a little push to get back on the right track. We all need that push from time to time. But how easy is it to be the giver of that push when the people you are pushing are making decisions about the paycheck that supports your family?
Maybe the pastor isn't supposed to be the only truth teller and that is the job for the church as a whole to be doing for each other. That takes some pressure off the pastor but it still raises the question for me as to what the role of the pastor then becomes. Is is caretaker? Vision giver or leader? CEO? Administrator? All of these roles seem to me to be things that the Body we call the church should be doing collectively as a community. If the role of the pastor is spiritual director then why do we employ them full-time? Why don't we work the church in a more community fashion and pay some people part-time here and there for administrative duties?
I'm just wondering if the idea of "full-time pastor" is going to become a thing of the past. Why not organize a church as a body of believers challenging each other and caring for each other in a spirit of unity and love? Is this idea a pie-in-the-sky dream that can't happen? Does a group of people always need someone "in charge?" This is something I want to look into Biblically and practically in the next while and see where it takes me. It may not be too appealing to those of us who "work" for the church currently but it has been on my mind and I need to get at least a little resolution. Just thinking here. Anyone have any answers for me?