The Pastor: CEO, MC, Therapist…?

What relationship does the pastor have with his church? Is he the CEO who makes sure the programs run smoothly? Is he the master-of-ceremonies to make sure people don’t get bored? Is he the therapist who soothes consciences? Answer: None of the above – he’s a servant. Turretin hammered this home well (Institutes III.227):

“…It is evident that the church is not for the sake of the ministry, but the ministry for the sake of the church; and that the church does not depend upon the ministry, but the ministry depends upon the church (as in civil society, the magistrate depends on the society, not…the society on the magistrate). …The church precedes the ministry and produces it and not the ministry the church.”

“Now the church is superior to pastors, not pastors to the church; the church does not belong to the pastors, but the pastors to the church. Hence pastors are called the servants and ministers of the church: ‘We are your servants for Jesus’ sake’ (2 Cor. 4.5).”

If only we could keep this straight! People too quickly leave a church when their favorite pastor leaves (he’s gone now, so this church will go downhill). Pastors too quickly think “this church needs me.” This is, of course, one of those things that runs against the grain of western culture, one of those things that makes biblical churches look so odd to Americans: the “leader” of the church is “least of all?”

If you notice the little image above (bonus points for whoever guesses the story behind it!), the pastor is the man on his knees dedicating his life as a servant to the church, who is standing.

shane lems

sunnyside wa


6 comments on “The Pastor: CEO, MC, Therapist…?

  1. […] June 30, 2008 in Uncategorized Not according to Francis Turretin […]

  2. Peter Flowers says:

    Surely that is Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday?

  3. Alex Garleb says:

    Well said Shane. A little Willimon’s “Pastor” influence perhaps? The story behind the image?… Hmmm… ok, got it: the image is an artistic presentation of you and I cramming for finals just before our last semester at WSCAL right? I knew it!

    Alex Garleb

  4. Shane Lems says:

    Ha! Well, it is Robinson Crusoe and his faithful servant Friday, so Peter is right…

    And, I suppose if you look out of the corner of your imagination, you’d see two seminary students weeping at the prospect of Hebrew, Greek, Theology, and Church History finals!

    My question – Alex – why are you holding a spear?

    shane lems

  5. Andrew Compton says:

    Weeping because of a *Hebrew* final?! Are you mad?! Studying Hebrew, taking tests on Hebrew, being beat over the head with a baseball bat engraved with Hebrew letters – all these things are a sheer delight for those who have seen the beatific vision!!! :p

  6. Alex Garleb says:

    Surly you know why I am holding a spear, right? The same reason all God’s warriors betake spears—In order to annihilate the enemies of our Lord, right? As our beloved David says in 1 Sam 17: 26ff:

    And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

    Though David used a mere sling-shot, we are just as bold when we use the word of God, since it is the very word of the Holy Spirit, right? Preach it bro!!!


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