Monday, 17 September 2012

Support or Employment?

What role does a congregation have in the calling of a pastor?

Is a pastor simply applying for a job, and offered employment by the congregation, in turn then working for the congregation as they see fit?  Or when a pastor recognises a call to a congregation must there also be some level of call on the congregation as well to say that they see the pastor as God-lead to come and lead, look after and shepherd them?  If that's the case then should the congregation allow the pastor to work as he feels led by God (having already recognised God's call), and the money they pay him is not then employment, but support?


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting reflection. In the uniting church the call is discerned by both minister and congregation, then we talk about stipends rather than salaries. These are set centrally and are modest. The idea is that the money frees the minister from needing to earn a living and enables them to serve God through the life of the church. There are still expectations such as Sunday worship but essentially it is about being freed to serve rather than being employed. RK

Anonymous said...

It is an important question. I think pastors and their congregations should both discern the call. Pastors must be able to lead in the direction they believe God is leading them but they also need to have the skills to take others on the journey with them. So communicating is essential. But the best Pastors that I have seen give people in their congregation the permission, support and the encouragement to develop their own ministries - in other words they hold the reins loosely. If the Ministry fails that is okay - it wasn't meant to be. Permission to fail is important. The other side is that there are often people within congregations who want things done their way or just as it has been done for the last 50 years and are totally resistant to change and so the Pastor needs to be strong enough to stand against those people when necessary and not be intimidated. I suspect that makes it quite a delicate dance and glad I am not a Pastor!

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