Come on! How hard can it be to serve as a pastor? I’ve run a successful business. If I can do that – I can most definitely serve as a pastor!
I admit it. This angers me. I am troubled when someone disparages the role of the pastor. I am angered when someone speaks about the pastoral ministry as a last resort for anyone seeking employment. I am frustrated when someone thinks they could easily serve in a pastoral role.
Why am I so irritated? It was two things. It was hearing a local businessman express that in his estimation – anyone with half a brain could be a pastor. And – an ad that recently popped up as I was doing some sermon research on the internet. The ad invited anyone to immediately get ordained, so that as a result, the newly ordained pastor could (and I am not making this up):
- Be closer to God than other people
- Ask for blessings for yourself and others
- Guide others on the path to God.
- Run your own congregation
- Perform weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies
- Collect offerings which you can keep for yourself
- Be responsible for leading others in faith healing, financial blessings, and relationship advice and improvement.
Are you getting a sense of why I was angered? Well, it goes downhill from there. The web site made very clear that not just anyone could be ordained. There would be a three question theological exam that must be passed to be considered worthy of ordination. The exam (again, I am not making this up) induced the tough questions: Is there one true God? and the hard-hitting question – Is Jesus Christ the Savior?
The invitation to pastoral ordination ended with this final comment…
By registering to become an ordained minister, you are joining a group of men and women who are devoted to the highest level of spiritual conviction…By taking this significant step in your spiritual development, you will be elevated to a new height of respect by your peers,…We wish you the best on your new journey and congratulate you on your decision. Come on – how hard can it be to be a pastor?
I wanted to puke! What saddens me is the fact that many believe that the pastoral ministry is a last employment resort. I side with the great preacher C.H. Spurgeon is reported to have said, “Let the best and the brightest become pastors. The rest can become doctors and attorneys.”
At PastorServe, we are fierce advocates for pastors. Nothing is going to change our position. And – we believe that the pastoral calling is a high calling. I don’t want a doctor taking out my appendix who received his medical degree online (thankfully, no such degree exists). Nor do I want a pastor to lead who spent fifteen minutes securing credentials. This only lowers the general view of pastoral ministry.
Yes, I know it’s fun to get ordained so that you can officiate at your college roommates upcoming wedding. But, understand that in doing so, you tarnish what many have literally given their life for. Let’s together lift high the calling to pastoral ministry.