Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Critique This Statement

"If all the programming that you start at a church falls away after you leave, that's a failed pastorate."


Ryan Kemp-Pappan said...

I would say absolutely. Then, I wonder if there is ever such a thing as a failed pastorate. I am convinced that the contemporary idea of pastoring is obsolete and is ever out of touch with what the Children of God need. If we are concerned about programming rather than transformation then we failed before we have started.

I just wrote a post [thefetteredheart.com] on this subject yesterday.

LutherPunk said...

Excuse my language, but the original statement is bullshit.

Things change. Programs have a shelf life. Pastors lead differently. Stop looking for constancy.

Paul Bryant-Smith said...

I couldn't disagree more. A successful pastorate has to do with lives changed, not programs started. There are plenty of reasons a program might not survive a pastor's tenure at a church: Maybe the program was an outgrowth of particular gifts of a particular pastor. Maybe the program served its purpose in its time. Maybe the church -- and not the former pastor -- lacks a vision for ministry.

Anonymous said...


The buzzer sounds ... sorry, that's the incorrect answer.

We're not serving programming, we're ministering to people. The best example I can give is the mission statement of a congregation in Sandusky that says:

"Gather the saints. Equip the gathered. Send the equipped."

Not a word about specific programming as central to the call of the congregation. That is discerned out of the Christian commitment.

I still hear people talk about "Wee Kirk", the children's church of the 1970s. Died in the 1970s, too. But it equipped some of the saints that are still in my congregation and they are doing other things.


Amy said...

If the programming dies when you leave, then it was your ministry - not the ministry of the congregation. This doesn't mean that is was a failed pastorate... unless you only ever focused on "your" ministry instead of seeking to nurture and equip the ministries of the people you are called to serve...

Stephanie Anthony/She Rev said...

I have mixed thoughts. I think I disagree over all but for sort of pieced together reasons.

First, I'm trying in my ministry not to think of "programming" as much as "ministry". Programming is stuff we do to fill holes or because we think we need it. Ministry is where God leads us. If I have done "programming" in my ministry (or LOTS of it because I think we all do it sometimes) then whether it falls away or continues forever it's not really a sign of great Spirit-led pastoring.

Another problem "you start" - - If I'm thinking of things in terms of me starting them then it's probably inevitable that they will fall away after I leave. I feel strongly that I can have the initial inspiration of ideas for ministry and vision and even leadership enough to light some fires, but if I'm the only one starting or sustaining them then again, when I'm gone they will probably fall away and I've missed my opportunity to "equip the saints."

Now without dissecting the words of the statement I could actually go both ways on this. Well, "failed" pastorate is strong, but I'll go with the hyperbole for the sake of simplicity.

I can see some truth to this because if it all falls away than it could have been all about me. That's not ministry or pastoring. That's ego and charisma.

On the other hand, as someone else said, congregations change, ministry needs change, pastors have different calls and ministry ideas, etc. I wouldn't see it as a complete "failure" if things didn't all continue. I would get worried if things did continue indefinitely without evaluation of the changing work and calling of the Spirit.

Sally said...

my thoughts are also mixed, on the one hand I believe change is healthy and that no programmes should continue forever. On the other hand if everything you have started relies upon you to run then there is a problem. I move on next year and want to concentrate upon releasing responsibility this year so that schools work etc runs without me.

Peter said...



Failed pastorates are the only kind Jesus can use in building the Kingdom He is willing to put His name on...


Thoughts From Jeff said...



Oh, wait, you are probably wanting us to flush this out some, huh ?

Maybe tomorrow.