Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm a Pastor. Am I a Professional?

A simple scene a few days ago in front of our neighbor's house prompted some reflection.

A few days ago I saw Sara and our neighbor Mauricio talking about his house.  He was asking her opinion of some issues relating to the value of his house.  He was seeking her professional opinion.  She's a realtor.

A few days ago we were quizzing Mauricio in our basement about some stuff related to the remodeling of our basement.  We were seeking his professional opinion as a man in the construction and painting business.

Mauricio is an expert in home renovation.  Sara is an expert in real estate.

I'm a pastor.  Am I an expert?  In what?  Am I a professional?

How about an expert in the Bible?  Well, I seem to know a lot more about the Bible than some Christians, but that shouldn't necessarily be the case.  All Christians should read and study their Bibles and have a growing knowledge and understanding of it.  (Remember the Bereans, who checked Paul's preaching against Scripture on a regular basis.)

How about an expert in counseling?  Definitely not.  I've listened to people describe their problems.  I've asked questions along the way.  I've touched on some issues along the way and made suggestions.  But I can't fix their problems.  I can only point them to Christ, the problem-fixer.

How about an expert in preaching and teaching?  There is certainly an art to preaching, and sometimes I think I've got it, and sometimes, like this past Sunday, I'm sure I don't.  Further, the Holy Spirit makes preaching and teaching effective.  I can preach a perfect sermon, flawless in every respect, but if the Holy Spirit doesn't take it and connect it to people's hearts and minds, it accomplishes zero for the kingdom.  So ultimately, the Holy Spirit is the expert in preaching and teaching.

Bottom line is, I don't consider myself an expert or a professional.  There are times I wish I was.  I would like to have a handle on something.  But I don't.  I'm a follower of Jesus Christ.  An imperfect follower.  I should read the Bible as much for me as for others.  I pray, because if I don't pray I'm done for. 

I suppose as a leader in the church I should be leading the congregation in every way.  But in some ways I am not a leader; I am a follower.  There are others who are lapping me in things such as mercy, compassion, generosity, thoughtfulness, love, patience, self-discipline, industriousness, holiness.

If I were an expert, a professional, would I need the Holy Spirit as much as I do?


j.scantlin said...

You are as much a professional as anyone else is, as much an expert in a given profession as anyone else. I know people who would consider me an expert, a professional, at certain things... and others who would find that idea laughable about me and those very same things. Who is to say who is right about this? If the word is to have any meaning at all, you are a professional.

Anonymous said...


Regarding who is or who isn’t and expert or worthy of his call...

Dear Kent, I certainly agree with J. Scantlin in his opinion! A “teacher,” according to Webster’s dictionary, is one who instructs, guides or gives knowledge in order to help another. All parents or guardians are certainly teachers, for they already know the way a child is passing through in their footsteps. Israel’s King David prayed: “12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you." (Psalm 51:12 & 13). Then certainly all repentant sinners who believe in Christ have passed from death to life (John 5:24) and are qualified – as King David believed it -- to “teach” God’s truths and thus turn many to righteousness (Compare Daniel 12:3). And for what we know, Kent, there is a fine line between “teaching and preaching,,” as I learned at The Fort Wayne Bible College. But Webster agrees, even to the point of using the word “teaching” to define “preaching,” or “moralizing and exhorting” one’s listeners. People “listen,” according to Webster, in order “to take into consideration,” for the purpose of change. My own dad, Loring Scantlin, said: “There will always be someone higher than you, regardless of how high you may rise in life’s station.” [Somewhat paraphrased, Kent, but that’s what he meant.] Yet, certainly EVERYONE in Christ’s Church works together for growth in Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
I think of Paul who felt himself most unworthy of his gift of Apostleship (1 Corinthians 15:9), yet how greatly the Church of Christ is blessed even to this very day from the ministries of men like PAUL AND DAVID – or even MOSES (Compare Exodus 3:11)! He is the same Holy Spirit, Who placed David and Paul (Acts 13:36; 1 Corinthians 12:11) in their respective ministries, Kent, who also placed you (Acts 20:28). Remember there are people who are not even “in your shoes” (in a figure of speech) ministering as you do who will certainly be rewarded so as you (Matthew 10:41) And regardless of the gifts and calling of God one may or may not have, even the slightest thing done for God will be magnificently rewarded (Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41). And the slightest thing that could have been done for God, but yet was intentionally deleted from one’s life at the time, will certainly be punished (Matthew 25:25-30).
P.S. Kent, remember all gifts of the Holy Spirit point to Christ, Who alone is the sinless, master-teacher, preacher. God could have given the gospel of Christ to His holy angels. But He didn’t, except for them to announce Christ’s resurrection. And other than the preaching of Jesus, no other man -- either high or low -- is worthy of it without His help (Luke 6:41 through 42). –Dad

Kent S said...

Just to clarify, my post was not a lament.

j.scantlin said...

Don't worry, I wasn't consoling. I was accusing you of being wrong.