Posted tagged ‘Professionalism’

Addressing the Damaging Effects of Professionalism in the Local Church

March 16, 2010

“We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry.  The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet.  It is not the mentality of the slave of Christ.  Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry.  The more professional we long to be, the more more spiritual death we will leave in our wake.”

These are the first words of John Piper in his book, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry.  God has used these words in profound ways, not just in changing my thinking but really the course of my life.  It was in a staff meeting one morning that I read this chapter and spoke of the dangers of a professionalized ministry, and the consequence of that meeting was a sovereign shift that directed me to seminary and now to the local church where I serve.

I am increasingly concerned, however, about the state of the church, and specifically how professionalism has caused her to suffer.  Every minister ought to do everything he can to be skilled in his craft, competent in his work, and unwavering in his commitment to fulfill his calling.  And yet, what I am finding today is that when well-trained, gifted men of God excel in their ministry, those who are blessed by them experience two things: a sense of “I could never do that” and a sense of “I only want him to do that.”

The first response reveals the distance created between the pulpit and the pew, and the second response reveals preferential culture that has been created where God’s truth has added value when it is communicated from this particular person (professional).  Here is what to be the consequence of these realities: