Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Role Of Pastors

A few years ago, I interviewed 20 pastors in the Seattle area, asking them how they viewed the role of the church in bridging the Sunday-Monday divide.

I discovered that most pastors don't view themselves, or their churches, as being very effective in this particular area.

On a scale of 1-10, I asked each pastor what their level of satisfaction was in how well their churches were doing in equipping congregants to have an influence in the workplace. The average response was 4.58 (10 being the highest). Twelve pastors (60%) gave themselves a 5 or lower. 80% of the responses were 6 or lower.

I was impressed by the humility of those pastors. Many were not pleased with the reality of their particular situations, and it was evident that many wanted things to be better with respect to "worklife discipleship."

If a pastor were to ask me how to improve things in this particular area, I would probably say something like the following (and this may explain why pastors don't ask me this question!):

"Focus more on how you can help your congregants fulfill their roles as participants in the workplace than on what your congregants can do to help you fulfill your role as pastor in the church."

Say what?!

Several years ago, I had a conversation with a school superintendent who told me his pastor encouraged him to see his work in education as a priority over what was going on within the four walls of his church.

I remember thinking how unusual this was! In my entire life, I had never heard anyone say such a thing about his or her pastor.


Now, please don't read what I'm about to say as a slam on pastors. They need the support of their congregants as much as their congregants need the support of the pastor. But I think most pastors have their eyes fixed more on the church gathered in the building, than on the church scattered in the workplace.

I'm not suggesting it's an "either-or" proposition. I think it's "both-and." But how common is it for a pastor or a church to have a reputation for equipping believers for successful life in the workplace, in the truest sense of the word "success"?

My friend's pastor was Lowell Bakke. Please take 2.5 minutes to hear Lowell share his views on the role of pastors in the church: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk8Vw-c1Bzc&feature=player_embedded