Thursday, April 05, 2007

The People Formerly Known As "The Pastor"

TPFKA"TP"
The People Formerly Known As "The Pastor"

The following post is a polemic. It is meant to provoke conversation in line with Bill Kinnon's, "Grace's" and Jamie Arpin-Ricci's posts mentioned in the last entry. These comments are a composite of my own experiences and those of disillusioned church leaders.

There are thousands of us. You probably know many of us now as insurance sales agents, real estate agents, or doing anything besides "church." We started with idealism about being voices for the kingdom of God and soon realized we became mutated forms of USAmerican business leaders. Even Jesus became a CEO. We traded immersion in the Bible for hyped-up seminars and books about good management, strong leadership and slick public relations. We learned that the size of our church parking lot mattered more than the size of your hearts for God. Be Thou My Vision got altered to "What is your vision statement?"

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor discovered somewhere in "doing church" that they were being paid as surrogates for the congregation's spirituality. You know, the old saw, "Pastors are paid to be good; the people are good for nothing." People seem to tell others more about their pastor(s) than about Jesus, their Savior. Of course, this made pastors feel good and loved and valued. Then it dawned on us, we were feeling good for all the wrong reasons. We were dynamic communicators, we awed people with exegetical biblical wonders, we spoke notebooks full of outlines with cute stories and precise principles and timely applications. We "rightly handled the word of truth" as a magician handles his tricks. What a one-man show. Little did we realize that all our song-and-dance additions overshadowed the eternal Word itself. For all our proclamation about the "sufficiency of Scripture," we communicated as if that Word needed our 2 cents worth. And our razzle-dazzle knowledge of Hebrew and Greek helped us create messages that made you feel totally inadequate to do serious Bible study on your own. So, you either read a fluffy devotional snippet each day or ran off to Bible Study Fellowship to really learn the Word.

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor wrestled with conflicting ego issues. Some felt the rush of power over people. Some even said that in order to get to God, you had to go through us. We were your covering (a term never used in pastoral ministry until the 1970s). We were "the Lord's anointed." Don't touch us. Being charged with the eternal well-being of souls is heady stuff. And, sadly, it went to our heads. We became commanders rather than servants. We liked the feeling of bossing people around...in the name of the Lord, of course. When you confronted us with our spiritual abuse of you, we were quick and smooth, savvy and cunning, and we made you feel like it was all your fault. On the other hand, others of us were scared to death of you. You gave us our paycheck. You gave us benefits. Unknown to us, you called us to your church in order to get your way. We thought we were authentically praying to God, "Your will be done...," but it became apparent that the will of God was the will of those who had the money. We became people-pleasers at the cost of our own dreams. Eventually the commanders among us got kicked out of the church and the fearful among us got scared out. Selling shoes looked mighty appealing.

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor ran up school bills, too, going to college and seminary. It's costly learning Hebrew and Greek these days. Our peers in the "market place" were making twice, sometimes 3 and 4 times the salary we were offered. We were told to live by faith. We saw the rampant materialism permeate the church and we baptized it with "being relevant with the culture." We officiated at very high-priced weddings and worried how we would get our own kids married. Spring Break meant Disney-World for you and your kids and a trip to see relatives for us. We tried to remember the thing about "treasures laid up in heaven" while realizing that tithing was the rich person's easy way out. Yes, we made you give to our grandiose building projects, our need for bigger this and newer that "for the Lord." We made you pledge to this idea and that effort. All the while we told you, "You can't serve both God and money." When some of us ventured to speak about simplicity, you thought we were anti-capitalists, unAmerican.

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor loved the idea of spiritual gifts and gift inventory tools. Now we could recruit you with this slick saying, "You will find your deepest joy when you become a Sunday School teacher, a financial council member, an evangelistic campaign organizer." We loved the idea of "recruiting." We could build our religious empire footnoted with Bible verses. More people serving possibly meant a bigger church. We could go to Pastors Conferences armed and ready to shoot off our mouths about "the hand of God's blessing on my church." Note that many pastors really do say,"My church." Our worries at night about problems and struggles in "my church" were the signal that we truly had taken ownership of what is God's. When we overlooked 20 compliments and ruminated angrily over one negative comment, we knew it was "all about us." Some of us needed counseling.

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor were angry people. Not that you would know it. Our spouses and children knew it. We lived in glass houses. Our kids had to be angels while yours were smoking pot and having sex. And, God forbid, that anyone in the church say anything negative about your kid(s). When you "dedicated" them to God on that Sunday morning, the church committed to helping you raise your child. But, watch out if someone corrected your child while at church. You lost it. You left. You were living under some crazy belief that being born a sinner didn't apply to your children. You wanted to drop them off in a very safe environment with very safe people and then you could forget all about them and do your church thing. You would listen to "Focus on the Family" and then pay church staff to focus on your kids. It was really a crazy environment.

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor began to smell something rotting in the whole "church" thing. Only once in the New Testament is the term for the service of pastor used as a noun (Ephesians 4:11-12). All the rest of the times "pastoring/shepherding" is used as a verbal form, except when used of Jesus. Having accepted a corrupted image and Christendom model of "the pastor," we finally began to see that corruption infiltrating the church. Apostles and prophets and deacons and elders/overseers are mentioned far more than "the pastor." Why did this one term and office (!) gain supremacy? In its current expression, "the pastor" certainly isn't biblical. And don't get some of us started on the injustice of limiting the equal status of women in ministry.

The People Formerly Known As The Pastor are still serving in the places once populated by The People Formerly Known As The Congregation. At least some of us are. We are not seeking to command and control. We are not jittery about what people think. We are not afraid of the seismic shift caused by TPFKATC. We sense that something magnificent is afoot. We are intrigued by the chaos. We, TPFKATP, are willing to risk significant change with TPFKATC in order to recover or even create local expressions of the kingdom of God that first of all are burning with missional passion and practice. We want to explore with you the meaning of the chaos, the vision of a preferred future, the challenge of being "church." We dream of kingdom outposts that are guided by the biblical text in its storied form, shaped by the community of the Trinitarian God, and devoted to the equality of all who are in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. What does this mean for "the pastor"? Who knows? That's the adventure we all are in!

Labels:

312 Comments:

At 4/05/2007 3:22 PM, Blogger Bill Kinnon said...

John,
Well said. I am happy to identify this as Part IV in The People Formerly Known as the Congregation series. As painful as it is to write (and to read), the truth is critical in our call to move forward into God's mission for our time.

 
At 4/05/2007 3:28 PM, Anonymous leah said...

wow dad!
leah
(tpfkatpk)

 
At 4/05/2007 3:30 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Bill,
Thanks for the kind words and affirmation. There is a universe of pain in many pastors. And it's not all their fault. The monstrosity called the USAmerican/Canadian "church" is destroying many of them.

 
At 4/05/2007 3:31 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Leah,
Why not write a post TPFKATPK and let's put it on my blog. Go for it. Lay it out there!!

 
At 4/05/2007 3:36 PM, Blogger Bill Kinnon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/05/2007 3:37 PM, Blogger Bill Kinnon said...

This time in English:
I think the truth coming from PK's could take this to a whole new level...or cause us all to weep uncontrollably. Write on, Leah.

 
At 4/05/2007 3:44 PM, Anonymous The Chick Voice said...

Wow! Following this whole series of postings, (which for me started at IMonk)is stunning. I have been saying so much of this for the last 15 years and thinking I was turning into some sort of heretic. Your point about the word "pastor" stands out the most. I've know HUNDREDS of people with Pastor in front of their name. I've only known a handful of Pastors. This doesn't mean they were bad men. Just maybe apostles or prophets made to be a pastor because that's what we call them in the western church. Amen, Amen, Amen

 
At 4/05/2007 4:37 PM, Anonymous leah said...

Bill,
You make a good point, but personally I'm not ready to go there :)
Leah

 
At 4/05/2007 5:35 PM, Blogger Adam Gonnerman said...

THIS WAS GREAT!!! You hit so many nails on the head, you've practically built a house! I've been a "supply preacher," missionary in Brazil and local church minister in New Mexico, and it was the American church that broke me. We FLED NM and only in the past several months have I really come out of the hole I was cowering in. I'm the person formerly known as pastor that has a routine job with a cell phone company. I sit in a cubicle all day and deal issue after issue from business customers I won't have to deal with longer than a phone call. I'd rather be in ministry, but not on the terms that nearly destroyed me in the southwest. THANK YOU for writing this.

 
At 4/05/2007 5:44 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Adam,
While a little hard "to go there" again myself, I knew that there are many ex-pastors in terms of vocation...broken by the USAmerican machine called "church." I'm glad you're who you are and do what you do.

 
At 4/05/2007 7:13 PM, Anonymous elisha said...

there is a lot i want to say.... as tpfkatpk, with leah, i don't know if i could....
it hits a little harder & deeper reading my own dad's words....
i'll be back
elisha

 
At 4/05/2007 7:50 PM, Blogger Rustin S said...

Well said! Thanks for this.

 
At 4/05/2007 9:19 PM, Blogger watchman said...

John, thank you so much! What a joy to hear someone feeling the depths of what I myself feel!

 
At 4/06/2007 3:53 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Elisha,
It's time for TPFKATPKs to find their voice--as hard as it is--and speak out about what the "church" is doing to PKs and their families. When the time is right for you, go for it.

 
At 4/06/2007 3:55 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

rustin and watchman,
I am encouraged by your responses. I pray these posts will be redemptive.

 
At 4/06/2007 4:43 AM, Blogger Ben Overby said...

This really resonates with me, John. Well articulated and so true.
ben overby
benoverby.wordpress.com

 
At 4/06/2007 5:24 AM, Anonymous Doug Jones said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you... true and honest words - may they become words that bring hope and words that bring repentance and words that bring a new day in local church's across North America.

 
At 4/06/2007 6:38 AM, Blogger flyawaynet said...

Wow. Excellent.

 
At 4/06/2007 8:50 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

ben,
I am glad for the resonation with your soul.

 
At 4/06/2007 8:51 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Doug,
You are welcome---3 X over. I appreciate your affirming words. Let's pray this will be redemptive.

 
At 4/06/2007 8:54 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

flyawaynet,
I visited your blogspots. You, too, have some great things posted. God bless you. I liked the "Blog in My Own Eye" link.

 
At 4/06/2007 9:15 AM, Blogger grace said...

Amazing John!

Having accepted a corrupted image and Christendom model of "the pastor

I agree completely that pastors are often the most damaged by the false model and the resulting false expectations placed upon them. Not only that, but they are also then expected to take the blame.

It seems that to be a mega-success in the existing system sometimes requires selling your soul.

This I love:

We sense that something magnificent is afoot. We are intrigued by the chaos. We, TPFKATP, are willing to risk significant change with TPFKATC in order to recover or even create local expressions of the kingdom of God that first of all are burning with missional passion and practice. We want to explore with you the meaning of the chaos, the vision of a preferred future, the challenge of being "church." We dream of kingdom outposts that are guided by the biblical text in its storied form, shaped by the community of the Trinitarian God, and devoted to the equality of all who are in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

I wish that all leaders within the church shared your heart and vision.

 
At 4/06/2007 9:29 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Wow, Grace. Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that you are encouraged by it. And thanks to for joining the dream by quoting the section at the end. May it be!

 
At 4/06/2007 9:38 AM, Blogger Greg said...

John,
Powerful. Thanks for these thoughts. A fitting epitaph etched on the tombstones of dead and dying churches that turn pastors into technicians to engineer personal peace and affluence, instead of encouraging them to be missional ministers of the KOG. Shall we weep together!

May God help us to find our place in the theodrama and to perform our parts with love and integrity as we seek to follow the crucified and risen One.
Greg

 
At 4/06/2007 10:04 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Greg,
Just imagine a host of "missional ministers of the kingdom of God" rather than managers of McChurch offering services for the consumers! Thanks for understanding the pain and for seeing it redeemed.

 
At 4/06/2007 3:37 PM, Anonymous bryan riley said...

Wow. First time reader. I have been reading Grace and jamie for a while, and it led me to Bill's and this post.

I think this is the most powerful of the series. I'm sure many who are in the pastoral ministry would say that that may reflect who you were as a pastor, but not who they are. And, for some, I pray, that is true. However, it sure seems that many, if not most, are more sold out to the principles of this world than Kingdom principles. They are better at walking in the flesh than they are at walking in the Spirit. In fact, to even talk of what it is the Spirit does in the every day lives of people is foreign, mystical, emotional, and unseemly. You have captured much of what is wrong in church leadership in America.

Thank you. If you do visit me, please try to find my posts on the Holy Spirit or some more substantive writing. Much of what I've written lately has just been about our adventure here to England as we are just beginning CDTS with the King's Lodge, a YWAM base.

 
At 4/06/2007 3:47 PM, Anonymous bryan riley said...

I was just thinking of other potential parts to this series:

The People Formerly Known As Conservative Evangelical Republicans

The People Formerly Known As Christian Following the American Dream

 
At 4/06/2007 4:17 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

bryan riley,
Welcome. I thank you for stopping by and commenting. I read a few of your posts on the Holy Spirit. Good stuff. We on this side of the pond have had to break out of the "God-only-speaks-through-the-Word" model. What in the world does it mean "the Spirit TESTIFIES with our spirit that we are children of God" if God only speaks through the written Word? I like the way you express the living presence and work of the Spirit.

I like your idea: The People Formerly Known As Christian Following the American Dream

God bless!

 
At 4/06/2007 5:49 PM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

John, This is outstanding. I love it! I would hope it's where I live, though I'm afraid I live a little too comfortably.

But there's no place to go but what you speak of here. If we're going to really follow Jesus, anyhow.

Thanks again, and keep it coming.

 
At 4/06/2007 7:28 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Ted,
You are an encouraging brother in Christ. Thanks for your good words.

 
At 4/06/2007 8:20 PM, Blogger David Wilson said...

Well John, we had our Good Friday Tenebrae service tonight. I spent a day on it, my wife and some girls from our praise team spent a couple of hours rehearsing for the 40 people who came.

But our parking lot was full - because of the Little League that was playing games tonight across the street. On Good Friday.

Then it hit me - We're like Jews in Russia, and I'm the rabbi with his pitiful little group of followers in a culture that would just as soon we didn't exist. And I'm tired of carrying the load for the ones who are still coming.

Maybe time to get that M.Ed. and teach school. Then I'll be one of those PFKATP

 
At 4/07/2007 6:12 AM, Blogger Greg said...

John, thanks for the evocative post and I agree with your desire to see it be redemptive. In a kingdom reality that is Now AND Not Yet, may God refresh his servants so they can be Formerly and Once Again.

Honored to walk with you,
Greg

 
At 4/07/2007 7:54 AM, Blogger kent said...

I have been a pastor for over 25 years and all I can say is that you have given words to the mute. You have given voice in an eloquent manner to thousands who have with best intentions and heart served Jesus and his church.

 
At 4/07/2007 9:10 AM, Blogger Marcus Bull said...

I've been a pastor for 8 years now, and resonate with almost everything you said. I'll post it on my own blog, with a link to you. Thanks very much!!

 
At 4/07/2007 9:20 AM, Anonymous Lyn said...

Thanks for this John. My husband is a pastor and we really resonate with what you have written. I've put a link on my blog.

Lyn

 
At 4/07/2007 9:30 AM, Blogger David said...

John, Leah and Elisha,
I hope that the PKs can find their voice, if not in you, then elsewhere in the blogosphere, entering and expanding the conversation.
Undoubtably, there are hurts for each of us, Congregants, Pastors, and PKs, let alone the world that doesn't even try to come to the Word of God in Jesus Christ. But, we know that Jesus is the ultimate healer and may we, "the church", in all its incarnations be healed by God's "new thing" this day.
Peace,
DC

 
At 4/07/2007 9:56 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

David Wilson,
Your little gathering is the kingdom of God at its best---a tiny seed sowned into the soil of Little League culture. Don't flee because of smallness. Rejoice, for the kingdom of God is here.

What is your blogspot address? I clicked on your name and couldn't get to you.

 
At 4/07/2007 9:58 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

GregM,
Walking with you as we seek to follow Jesus together is a gift. I am grateful, too. Nothing is wasted.

 
At 4/07/2007 10:02 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

kent in naperville,
Just read your "Where am I?" You sniffed out the homogenization of USAmerican evangelicalism. McChurch rules the day. Sad. Thanks for your stirring comments. May the mute among us find the voice of him who cries in the desert, "Repent. The Kingdom of God is here!"

 
At 4/07/2007 10:04 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Marcus,
I am glad that we are vibrating to the same Tune...I trust we are finding Jesus--the true Music--amidst the noisy clatter called "church" in the USA. God bless!

 
At 4/07/2007 10:06 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

lyn,
I visited "Beyond the Four Walls." Thanks for the link; and I'm glad that we find mutual encouragement in being honest about the entity passing itself off as "church" in the USA. God bless!

 
At 4/07/2007 10:08 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

David in San Bernadino,
Thanks for encouraging me and my girls. We are finding it a knotty thing to go into what the "church" is doing to pastors and their families. But new voices are speaking out about the mess we're in. God bless!

 
At 4/07/2007 10:44 AM, Blogger Robbymac said...

The longer I'm around, the more I'm grateful that I got disillusioned by this whole pastor-as-guru thing before I even finished seminary.

When I did finally accept a pastoral position, I'm glad that God showed me that it would kill my family -- not obviously, but slowly embitter my precious children against Him, me, and any gathering of Christians. I'm glad I chose my family over my "career".

And, today (15 years later), I'm really glad to no longer feel like I'm the only one saying these things!

Happy Detoxing from Church, everyone!

 
At 4/07/2007 12:20 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

robbymac,
You were wise beyond your years apparently :-)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope I not a "crabby detox-er," only an honest one.

 
At 4/07/2007 2:31 PM, Anonymous wayne squires said...

John:

Finding myself in the "sweet spot" that is the overlap of all three camps (tpfkatp, tpfkatpk, and tpfkatc), I am encouraged most by your last paragraph. It affirms the creative missional possibilities of church/culture liminality. You have clearly embedded hope in the shared lament over Christendom pastoral imagination (whether in chaplain, scholar, or CEO forms). Thanks for keeping the necessary tension between the grief of honest confession and the joy of kingdom possibilities.

I also have several questions. How is this all "playing out" in your new role at FECC? In this transition, is there any way to avoid being shaped by the very realities that you/we are deconstructing? In light of your beautiful statement of devotion "to the equality of all who are in the Messiah," would anything change in this conversation (with Bill, Grace, Jamie, and many others) if it was marked by increased cultural, racial, and economic diversity?

You don't need to answer these questions in blog space. We can continue the interaction at house church! It's a joy to be with you and Julie at this point in the journey!

Wayne

 
At 4/07/2007 2:57 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

wayne,
the contribution of your questions is necessary for the total overhaul into the incarnational presence of God and his (Jesus's) Way in physical form. I feel the like I am in the revolving door of change at FECC with a deep love for the people in the place they are and maintaining an imagination for the ways things could be. I am under no illusion that I will change anything, but I can plant seeds of newness (in ideas and words and questions) that perhaps my (and your) grandchildren will get to see mature and florish. When the capitalist dream goes the way of the communist (socialist) dream, perhaps a new kaleidoscopic way of being equal will emerge.

Thanks for your good insights and the significance of your own journey around these things.

 
At 4/07/2007 9:52 PM, Blogger Erika Carney Haub said...

Thank you for contributing this to the "formerly known as" dialogue! Thank you for the transparency and honesty it offers. As evidenced by others' comments, you have certainly given voice to the experience of a great many, and it is encouraging to hear truth (even when painful) spoken and received. Again, thanks!

 
At 4/07/2007 10:16 PM, Blogger Robbymac said...

John,

Wise? Me? Not sure I deserve that one! Just fortunate enough to have come across books like Brethren Hang Loose by Bob Girard, which challenged my thinking and warmed my heart for the dream of authentic Christian community. Blame or thank Bob, not me!

I don't sense any crabbish-ness in your post -- more like honesty, humility, and a desire to say what others wish they could have.

Thanks again for posting this.

 
At 4/08/2007 3:23 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

erika,
Isn't is amazing that part of the problem of "church" for pastors is that they are muted from being honest about the dark side of the system? So sad. I am glad to be a voice for many. God bless you.

 
At 4/08/2007 3:26 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

robbymac,
I read *Brethren, Hang Loose* too but was clueless about the implications of big business taking over the church. Authentic relationships were replaced by the pursuit of programmatic "success."
You were wise...'cause I said so :)

 
At 4/08/2007 7:40 PM, Blogger Burkhalter Ministry said...

Well- said! I got to your blog by a fluke. My husband is a PFKATP- now he works in the ER and gets to be around the lost and dying world all day and share CHrist and pray with people. He loves it- we now start simple churches- it is so freeing to minister to the world with no strings attached... we don't want their money or the # status. We just want to love others and make disciples.
Blessings to you on the journey as we are on it too.
Sincerely,
Beth Burkhalter
www.women4thekingdom.wordpress.com

 
At 4/09/2007 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of The People Formerly know as "The Pastor" are also the one's who while Pastor

Have an affair, or two, maybe 3 with someone in your church, destroying 2 marriages. (then move on to get hired by the denomination who now publishes your books).

Are the one who was hired to Pastor because of your connections, not because of God's direction.

Are the one who spoke, out loud in front of others on how your ministry is to the wealthy and others can take care of the struggling.

Are the one after being hired as a Youth Pastor refuse to work with teens because you can't stand them.

Are the one who as a "Pastor" has serious integrity issues where you're word can't be taken as truth.

Are the one as "Pastor" uses your 8 hour day to run to the mall, design a brochure. and consider an hour at Starbucks as outreach ministry.

Are the one as "Pastor" who has a collection of movies that you let teens watch that are rated R for a reason and are quite ungodly.

Are the one known as "Pastor" who states, outloud that your role is "Pastor" is a professional position rather than a calling.

Are the one known as "Pastor" who is supposed to be assisting us in our spiritual walk.

It works both ways.

When the congregation senses and finds authenticity in their Pastor, he can be a true Pastor. Too many "Pastors" are less than that.

 
At 4/09/2007 9:12 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Beth (burkhalter ministry),
I celebrate the way the Lord has led you. You are an encouragment to me and to others. God bless you, your husband, and your ministry.

 
At 4/09/2007 9:15 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

It is the policy of this blog to not respond to *anonymous* comments.

 
At 4/09/2007 10:35 AM, Blogger Zeeko Jr. said...

Honest, vulnerable and powerful, John. Perhaps this conversation can help to be a tipping point.

Recall the Isrealites who demanded the Lord to give them a (earthly) king, like all the other nations had. So too have many congregations demanded...and that's precisely what they likewise did receive.

 
At 4/09/2007 12:14 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

-Z-,
Excellent biblical insight into this issue. Thanks for the affirmation.

 
At 4/09/2007 7:06 PM, Anonymous elisha said...

anonymous-
though it's true that some pastors do the things you've said, that is not who my father is and that is not what this post is about. please take your comments elsewhere.
-elisha

 
At 4/09/2007 9:14 PM, Anonymous Steve Sensenig said...

I'm very late coming to this post, but I'm glad I finally got to read it.

I've been on both sides. I'm a PFKATP and part of the PFKATC. Both are equally painful to read about because they resonate so deep.

Thank you for articulating the pastor side of it so well. I could relate to just about every single word you typed here.

May God lead us all on this journey. When I read posts like this, I am filled again with great hope and I feel a whole lot less alone.

Thank you, John.

In Christ,
steve

 
At 4/10/2007 3:52 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Elisha,
Thanks, Sweetheart, for your comment. There are some bad apples in the pastor pile, but I'm glad you think I'm not one of them.
Love,
Dad

 
At 4/10/2007 3:53 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Steve,
What encourages me the most are those who do resonsate with this post. I am glad to put words to a vast silence about pastoral pain.

 
At 4/10/2007 6:11 AM, Blogger Jim Martin said...

John,

Many, many of us who have served churches can identify with your words. Thanks.

 
At 4/10/2007 6:32 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Thanks, Jim, for commenting on this expression of pastoral experience...at least in thic culture.

 
At 4/10/2007 7:07 AM, Blogger ed said...

I've just come upon this conversaqtion. I am a seminary grad serving in ordained ministry in a mainline denom. This post is one of the most refreshing things I've read in a long time. Through my time in seminary I dreamt of being a truly missional pastor, not a corporate CEO. I left the corporate world because of that. I really wish to follow the biblical model for shepherding a flock and leading from within. I get discouraged by much of the politics involved in ministry. And I am trying with everything Jesus gives me to break out of the CEO model. Thanks for your writing. It encourages me to know there are others out there who feel as I do.

 
At 4/10/2007 7:35 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

ed,
I wish you well in your pursuit of being like Jesus-the good, great, and chief Pastor. I visted emergingumc. I like the things you are engaging and wrestling with. God bless!

 
At 4/10/2007 7:44 PM, Blogger David Wilson said...

John, thanks for your kind words. Don't know why you couldn't get to me on blogger.

http://itslikeherdingcats.blogspot.com/

I've transitioned a church from death to health in the traditional sense of the word. But what used to work, doesn't. I'm like the guy who built the world's fastest biplane right before WW2's Spitfire rolled off the line.

 
At 4/10/2007 7:56 PM, Anonymous Jon said...

This is an awesome post! The 'office' of pastor is just a copy of the equivalent secular office of 'manager', 'leader', or whatever you want, and by consequence creates all the problems you describe so very well. Just like ancient Israel, we are still calling 'give us a king' - only now we call the king a pastor.

 
At 4/11/2007 7:01 AM, Blogger ness said...

I'm going to have to spend some time thinking this through...but seeing your kids show up in the conversation gives you incredible credibility on top of writing an amazing article.

We are in the throes of this...8 years of traditional ministry, 2 Bible-college sized loads of debt, 3 kids, 2 years of church planting with no salary and a "regular job" that pays no where near what established churches paid hubby to do what he is best at doing and spent loads of cash learning to do.

oh yeah, I hear you. I just wish I knew what our kids would post about us when they are grown.

 
At 4/11/2007 7:10 AM, Blogger David said...

Thank you for exposing yourself in this important article.

Ten years ago, when I stopped being a Paid Professional Christian and Successful Church Planter, I was drowning in pain and anger and failure and lostness. A "friend" said to me, "You know what your problem is, don't you? You aren't a pastor!" I figured he must be right--how else to explain all this?

A decade later, the years since being "Pastor Dave" spent writing computer manuals that nobody will ever read, I have reached a different conclusion: "That isn't the church."

Just because WE give it the name "church" doesn't mean that's what it IS.

The journey as TPFKATP has been painful, lonely, and endless. In all that time my wife (TPFKATPW) and I have found only one couple with whom to have like-minded fellowship.

Perhaps the most ironic thing about all this is that I finally feel as though I might actually be the kind of leader Jesus might like to feed his sheep.

Sure. Right.

 
At 4/11/2007 7:14 AM, Blogger The Thunderer said...

John:
Guess I can't address you as Pastor John,;-)
That was an amazing post! I don't even think I like the emerging movement, but I like what you just said. One question though: why all the anger? It seems to permeate everything I come across EM.

 
At 4/11/2007 7:25 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

David Wilson,
I visited your blog. What a beautiful background picture. Your comment reminds me of the saying, "What was the best thing BEFORE sliced bread?" :) Keep in touch, brother.

 
At 4/11/2007 7:27 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

jon,
you are perhaps saying more than you know. There are people who seriously want to anoint their pastor as king (and his wife as queen). Pathetic idolization of servants of Christ. Resist it!

 
At 4/11/2007 7:30 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

ness,
Thanks, friend. I hear you, too. It's not easy. I'm still waiting to see if my girls want to comment as PKs. They've admitted that it's hard "to go there." God bless you...and nothing for Jesus and his "good news" is wasted.

 
At 4/11/2007 7:34 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

david in raleigh,
I like your blog name "Drive-by Gospel." You need to post your observations and feelings about "this ain't 'church' and this ain't pastoring." I think you are getting in touch with the pastoral heart of Jesus in you. Thanks for letting me and others get a peek into your story. God bless!

 
At 4/11/2007 7:38 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

the thunderer,
Your question seems to assume anger is bad. If you think so, I (and probably many others) strongly disagree with you. The Bible presents an angry God and shows us an angry Jesus. There's even a command "Be angry." Just don't sin.

There is a whole lot in the EC I really like and some things are juvenile. Just like the traditional evangelical community. Right?

 
At 4/11/2007 7:54 AM, Blogger The Thunderer said...

I understand that anger has its moment, but is that to be the tenor of our demeanor? Jesus wasn't always angry, nor were any of the prophets. Anger, used as fuel for passion is fleshly, and will result in sin. We are told not to let our anger pass the night. God once asked Cain, why are you so downcast? Let me ask that of you and the EM.

 
At 4/11/2007 8:03 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

thunderer,
you have no idea if I am angry or not, and if so, how long, etc. If you have issues with EM folk, take it up with them :-)

Most of my emerging friends are a light-hearted, happy bunch who are moving beyond USAmerican McChurch. By the way, I pastor a traditional Evangelical Covenant Church in W Michigan and I participate in Emergent W Michigan. I'm ambidextrous :)

 
At 4/11/2007 9:47 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Great post... I feel ya man...

Keep writing. We got your back!

Steve
stupidchurchpeople.com

 
At 4/11/2007 10:17 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Steve,

Thanks for showing up here and at the next post. I visited your blog. What a hoot.

If you visit my church, you can win a Winnebago. Just kiddin' Win a bagel.

 
At 4/11/2007 1:11 PM, Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

John,
I came accross this blog as the result of a link in an e-mail. As with most blogs and ministry as a whole, you have no idea how many people you are impacting. As a minster,mk and pk ... I appreciate the discussion. How God longs for us to shepherd following the Good Shepherd. You had so much good to say in this post.

I will drop by again from time to time. So much to do and so little time. I look forward to the perspective of your kids. I made the observation on a friends blog earlier today that being a pk is not all that bad and the desire to follow their lead into full time ministry is engrained. God has blessed me in so many ways. Yes there are trying times but we are called to lead through them.

I appreciated the it is not either / or comment. Being ambidextrious is good.
James

 
At 4/11/2007 3:28 PM, Anonymous leah said...

since ya'll are asking... i am working on a post for my dad, addressing the impact of the church on a pk. unfortunately the needs of 3 little ones are superceding my desire to add to this conversation!

also, my dad is a pretty happy guy, for those who are wondering :)

leah
"the p's k"

 
At 4/11/2007 5:19 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

James,
Your perspective is a welcomed one. Thanks for the encouragement for writing about what a lot of people are feeling. As you can see from the above comment from Leah, my daughter, the whole family is impacted by this wayward thing called "church."

 
At 4/11/2007 5:21 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Leah,
I am glad that you are contemplating a post from the PK's perspective. Take your time; we know the wee three need you.
Love,
Dad

 
At 4/11/2007 10:28 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

I'm a little late to the party, but wanted to thank you for these great thoughts. You consistently impress me. I've linked to this.

 
At 4/12/2007 6:38 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Paul,
Welcome to this unusual party. Hopefully we're dining on food for thought. I'm glad you showed up; and thanks, too, for the link.
Blessings!

 
At 4/12/2007 6:47 AM, Blogger AS said...

As a tpfkatpk I understand a lot of where you're coming from even if British/European churches don't operate quite the same way. I may even write a PK one myself on my tiny, under the radar blog. Thanks for being honest about a pastor's pain.
I left home determined not to be a pastor. God, in his mercy has allowed me to be a full time Storyteller in his church.

 
At 4/12/2007 7:39 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

As,
Gross Gott! I visited your "under the radar" blog. Who is Fam. Evans? You? Why not post some of your stories. Your work sounds intriguing.

 
At 4/12/2007 8:28 AM, Blogger Alan said...

I stumbled across this series of posts off of the Methodist emergent site. Certainly very interesting and well articulated thoughts. Thank all the authors for sharing them.

I am a spouse of a pastor (people formerly (and currently) known as a pastor's husband :)--) and it is definitely an interesting perspective to observe and comment on church. I have a 15 month old son who wil someday be tpfkatpk, so it will be interesting to here from those who've lived that life.

http://www.lodgeforestumc.org/templates/System/details.asp?id=32464&PID=417157

 
At 4/12/2007 8:51 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

alan,
I think you would bring a fresh perspective should you write about "church" as we know it. Thanks for the encouraging words.

 
At 4/12/2007 11:25 AM, Blogger harleyrev said...

Your article is right on, painfully so. I wish I could identify with your last paragraph as much as with the rest of the article. I am glad for you and how God has blessed the ministry you share.

 
At 4/12/2007 11:39 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

harleyrev,
It's a journey...you'll get there soon enough. I hope you've been encouraged to read that many leaders identify with you.
God bless you.

 
At 4/13/2007 6:40 AM, Blogger Bill Kinnon said...

John,
The impact of "The People formerly known as..." meme knocks me out. I love the way your true pastor's heart shines through in the comments (as it does in the post, I believe). I am glad we are on the journey together.

Thunderer,
Having read your comments elsewhere, might I suggest you have your own struggles with anger - and you just might be projecting them. Your chosen blog name would almost suggest a level of self-awareness, n'est-ce pas?

Leah,
Recognizing the Wee 3 come first, I truly look forward to your TPFKATPK post. You have a great Dad! He and your Mom have great kids. (And grandkids, of course.)

 
At 4/13/2007 7:27 AM, Anonymous Joe Martino said...

I am a person formerly known as a Pastor. I am moving to Grand Rapids in two weeks to go back to school. It is my intention to go back to being a person known as a pastor, someday.
The hardest part is watching people feast on your family. That part stinks!
Good post
Joe
http://www.joemartino.name

 
At 4/13/2007 8:10 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Bill,
What a window was opened by these few posts about aberrant church. Whoa!

 
At 4/13/2007 8:13 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Joe,
I went to "Searching the Sunsets." You've got some great stuff there. For all the critiqueing "church," I feel privileged to serve as a Jesus-follower who undershepherds God's people. The SENIOR Pastor is, of course, Jesus. Call me when you get back to GR.

 
At 4/13/2007 8:27 AM, Anonymous Joe Martino said...

I will.

 
At 4/13/2007 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

elisha - my comments whether you agree with them or not are part any realistic and honest discussion on "Pastor".

You may not like them, who would? Every example I supplied is 100% true and has happened in the last 7 years.

There is a major problem in the church today and the problem is the Pastor. I have personally 2 pastors who have been removed due to affairs, 1 YP removed due to statutory rape, 1 pastor allowed to resign instead of being booted out the door because of integrity issues. The list is endless.

These are not from one type of church. They range from conservative Baptist to AOG.

Too few Pastors are true to that role nor are they true spiritual leaders.

The church and the congregation are not setting a Pastor up for failure, the Pastor is a failure and let's down the church and the congregation.

 
At 4/13/2007 9:42 AM, Anonymous Joe Martino said...

Hey Anonymous,
The problem is that people who post without at least giving their name seem to lack cajones. I'm not saying that you are gutless but many many times people who don't give their name lack read credibility. So please give us your name and maybe a little bit of background. For instance, you ever been a pastor?

 
At 4/13/2007 11:34 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

NOTE: It the policy of blog's author to not respond to *anonymous* comments.

 
At 4/13/2007 5:00 PM, Anonymous elisha said...

Golly, at the risk of sounding mean-spirited, anonymous people don't listen (read) well. Read my comment again. I said although those things are sometimes true, that is not who my father is or what this post is about. Now, please take your ball and go home.
-elisha

 
At 4/13/2007 5:23 PM, Anonymous elisha said...

I just wanted to make the 100th comment. ;) Love you, Dad!
-elisha

 
At 4/13/2007 5:52 PM, Blogger Bill Kinnon said...

As I wrote #1, let me write #101. This story is about the missional change that IS taking place. It's about the men & women who are the Church, beginning to understand who they are AS the Church. It is a painful yet wonderful time to be alive...and not to be anonymous.

 
At 4/13/2007 5:56 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Thanks to TPFKATCOTP (the people formerly known as the commenters on this post) for making this an inspiring, if not pain-provoking conversation.

I heartily agree with Bill---we're in the best times for being the church!

 
At 4/13/2007 7:15 PM, Blogger grace said...

John,
What a great conversation and response to the thoughts you've shared!

Just for the record, I have never sensed an angry or bitter tone in the things you have written. It doesn't surprise me that your daughters describe you as a happy guy.

I wanted to ask permission to quote a portion of your last paragraph in the sidebar of my blog, with credit to you as the author.

Blessings to you!

 
At 4/14/2007 6:46 AM, Blogger Daniel Rudd said...

wow...
I'll read again later and see if I have anything else to say.

 
At 4/14/2007 7:13 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Grace,
I would be thrilled to be quoted on your blog! Thanks. Did you see Greg Laughery's post? I linked it at JTRP. Blessings!

 
At 4/14/2007 7:13 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

daniel,
Please come back and leave a comment or two. I'm interested in your perspective.

 
At 4/14/2007 10:13 AM, Blogger grace said...

Thanks John, the quote is up. I edited very slightly for brevity, but I believe that I kept the integrity and meaning of your words. It inspires me to read them again.

 
At 4/14/2007 1:30 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Grace,
THANK YOU. I like it.

 
At 4/15/2007 6:27 PM, Blogger jeff said...

Being a PK and a pastor myself, I hear what you're saying, but I'm not sure it does anything constructive.

One thing I've realized is that many people have jobs that suck. Pastors whine about theirs more than most and perhaps we're arrogantly assuming we are better than what Scripture tells followers of Christ they should expect.

It's not the pastor's fault, it's not the church's fault. It's your fault and it's my fault. People bring pain to church. We then whine that our poor little pastor self has pain now. No crap. Life sucks. Get over it. Bring people to Christ and move on to tomorrow and look forward to the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.

 
At 4/16/2007 5:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

unfvziHi Joe (Martino)

I have not posted my name or contact info for some specific reasons.

some information on myself -

30 years experience building and running ministries to children and teens. This has ranged from working in inner city gang area's, assisting in building camp programs as week as suburban settings. Specifically, outreach ministries, unchurched and leadership development and training.

I have been asked regularly to join as a full time staff member everything from a small local church to a nationwide (US & Canada) ministry. There are a number of positions I currently hold in state wide ministry as well as local and nation. I have not joined any of the paid staffing positions I have been asked about (though I am looking at one currently) due to the fact that staff people in the local church by and large are ineffective, spend to little time ministering and have ego's the size of Montana and expenses to match.

I've worked under approx. 15 - 20 "Pastors" at my personal local church, & 50+ Pastors regionally in one of the positions I hold.

There are many quality people out there in ministry and they are being overshadowed and drummed out because of the rampant secularization taking place within the church.

The day has arrived where the "Pastor" in many places is ineffective and on a career path not pursuing a calling.

 
At 4/16/2007 6:57 AM, Anonymous Joe Martino said...

Jeff,
We certainly need to be about the ministry of the Cross and no amount of hurt should stop us, but for too long people have looked at the church as a means of power. I know of a church where the pastors wife (not one I served in) was yelled at because she asked someone else to teache her class for her. I don't mean told "Hey, there's a system out there and you need to follow it." She was screamed at. That should never happen, and to say, "well, there's a lot of sucky jobs out there..." doesn't seem to cut it to me. I agree, there are. I work in one right now. I see this post as one of hope. This person formerly knowns as a pastor is still running the race. I haven't quit. I have no intentions of quitting, but I think it's time we start calling things as they are not as we want them to be.
Peace!

Anon---what does unfvzi mean?

 
At 4/16/2007 9:00 AM, Anonymous leah said...

Jesus to the woman at the well "Life Sucks. Get Over it." Hmm I don't think so. Aren't Christians called to be Christlike? "wait until Christ's return..." what about the here and now. We are on this Earth now. I think one of the most ridiculous things Christians say is "just wait til Christ returns" When Jesus was on earth, he seeked out the hurting and healed them. He certainly didn't say "life sucks, get over it."

sorry dad, had to comment/vent, this struck a nerve...

 
At 4/16/2007 10:20 AM, Anonymous elisha said...

Jeff-
I, like my sister, have to comment on your comment. What exactly is your definition of "church"? You said: "It's not the pastor's fault, it's not the church's fault. It's your fault and it's my fault. People bring pain to church."

Aren't people the church? If we have pain, the church has pain. It's not wrong. We don't have to get over it. We're painful, imperfect people. We get to be that way at church, too. I don't remember the bible saying anything about keeping pain out of church. Remarkable!

Also, what's the deal with the comments about "life sucks, get over it."? You say that you're a pastor and a PK, is this how you help people who might come to you for counsel? Remarkable!

By the way, what brought you to JTRP? Might I venture to say that you were brought here by the workings of the Holy Spirit? Maybe you could learn a few things. My father is highly respected and loved as a pastor--hurts and all.

I admit, I react to these few negative comments because we're talking about my dad, but come on! Is this how we build each other up now? I'm beginning to understand the flight from the USAmerican church.

 
At 4/16/2007 10:53 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Jeff,
I am happy you met my two oldest daughters in this comment section. I think you should pay attention to their responses.

You apparently were too lazy to read my follow-up post where I wrote, "It's risky writing as we [Bill Kinnon and me] did because some will think we're petulant or whiney or bitter. [I actually wrote the word WHINEY, Jeff. Isn't that interesting?] As far as I can tell, Bill is a happy guy. And I'm enjoying the place God has called me to at this time in my life. Others may conclude differently. Such is the risk when you reveal the "family secrets."

You, my friend, have made a virtual judgment on my character (a danger of the Internet) and I release you to the Lord Jesus Christ Whom you are so eager to meet.

You know nothing of my life and if you had paid attention to the lead into my post, you would have read that the comments I posted were a *composite* of stories from other pastors plus my own experience.

I agree with my daughter, Leah, that for a pastor you seem out of step with Jesus--the Good, Great, and Chief Pastor. And I agree with my daughter, Elisha, that you have made some truly "remarkable" assumptions about ministry.

 
At 4/16/2007 11:14 AM, Anonymous Joe said...

Ok, so I have three daughters with unique names. Is your daughters name really Elisha? If so, do you want to share the story with me?
Joe

 
At 4/16/2007 11:51 AM, Anonymous Heidi said...

Thank you for your words on what it is like to be a pastor or former pastor. It's a tough place to be and I really appreciated the perspective.

I've written my own personal version of "Formerly Known" here:

http://livewithdesire.typepad.com/live_with_desire/2007/04/formerly_known_.html

blessings,
Heidi

 
At 4/16/2007 12:43 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Joe,
We named our daughter Elisha as our shortened form of name of Aaron's wife, Elisheba (see Exodus 6:23). Elisheba (el-ee-sheh-bah) means "God of the oath." So, it's not pronounced like the prophet Elisha, Ee-Lie-Sha, but Ee-lee-sha.

 
At 4/16/2007 12:59 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Heidi,
Thanks for your kind comment.
I took the liberty to cut and paste your "Formerly Know As" into JESUS THE RADICAL PASTOR. It is an excellent expression of your story.

 
At 4/16/2007 1:07 PM, Anonymous Joe Martino said...

John, Way sweet. My middle daughters name is Kaidance Rhyann. I call her Chook--which was my mom's nickname. People often look at me a little funny. It's a great story. Perhaps, some day when I'm in the G-rap we'll be able to sit down.
Thanks
Joe

 
At 4/16/2007 1:19 PM, Blogger Bill Kinnon said...

And I've taken the liberty of making Heidi's post Part Six in The People formerly known as... Series. Still waiting on TPFKATPK from Leah and/or Elisha.

 
At 4/16/2007 1:28 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Joe,
We can get together and tip a few...Starbuck's lattes.

 
At 4/16/2007 1:29 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Bill,
Great! Heidi's thoughts are wonderfully transparent and provocative. She is a wonderful member of the "FKA" team.

 
At 4/17/2007 8:02 AM, Blogger jeff said...

I apologize for being taken the way I apparently sounded. I meant no disrespect, honestly.

My point was that pastors do tend to act as if they have the only job that has problems. I've heard enough pastor's conferences to know this.

I really didn't mean this as a personal afront, I was expressing my general opinion about pastors and the desire to focus on the problems.

"Life sucks, get over it" is a phrase I use to get people to move off the focus on whining, Ecclesiastes seems to back me up on that one. "Shake the dust off your feet and move on" also fits. I also firmly believe that looking for the Lord's return is a great way to help people live above the problems of this earth.

I'm embrassed that my comment came across so poorly. I was making a general statement, not a personal attack. Sorry for the intrusion.

 
At 4/17/2007 8:17 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Jeff,
Thank you so much for you clarifying comment above. The Internet is a poor place sometimes to discuss volatile issues. My daughters tend to roll with the puch, yet your comments seemed to need a response. Even Joe sensed the need to comment of the apparent intent of your words.

By no means were you intruding. In the blog world, things are out there.

Directing people to Jesus as the Comforter and our hope is praiseworthy. Your comments seem to suggest, however, a form of escapism from pain. Pastor Eugene Peterson writes that the last thing we need to do as pastors is to fix people's pain or get them "over it." God is in the pain; and they need to find him in there.

God bless you and your pastoral ministry.

 
At 4/17/2007 9:21 AM, Anonymous elisha said...

Jeff-
I apologize, too, for taking your words so harshly. It's true that the Internet is a hard place to express yourself and always have your true intent portrayed.

But, like I said before, I am quick to react when it's about my family.

Might I suggest the "life sucks" phrase be retired? Life doesn't suck, and I would hate for too many Christians to be confronted with that as a means of dealing with difficult issues. Life is great, we just all have problems. But, at least now I understand your intent with the phrase.

Sincerely,
elisha

 
At 4/17/2007 10:20 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Wow, nice to know I'm not the only one out there. Awesome thoughts! I might poach this 2 my blog.
www.everyhomeachurch.blog.co.uk

 
At 4/18/2007 6:52 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

philip,
if it will help, poach away!

 
At 4/18/2007 8:44 AM, Blogger Troy said...

As someone who is still working through his first year in full time pastoral ministry I found myself being both frightened and somewhat relieved by this post.
Frightened because of the potential disasters that may come along the path of ministry.
Relieved because at least I can see that I'm not the only one.
Thanks for your thoughts.

 
At 4/18/2007 9:32 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

troy,
We need more good pastors, yet know that this is not your father's culture when it comes to local church ministry. I am glad you are hopeful about being a pastor.

 
At 4/19/2007 10:59 AM, Anonymous lois said...

John, great post, thanks. As a PK i very much look forward to "our" words being posted by your lovely daughters. I know it's not always easy to find the words but go for it Leah & Elisha!! Blessings!

 
At 4/20/2007 3:50 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Lois,
Thanks for commenting as a PK. I look forward to what my daughters write.

 
At 4/20/2007 5:34 PM, Blogger Sola gratia said...

Your post and this whole thread led me to come up with my own take (wherein I defend pastors :-). Comments appreciated on http://lordibelievehelpmyunbelief.blogspot.com/2007/04/tribe-formerly-called-quest.html.

 
At 4/21/2007 10:11 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

sola gratia,
I visited your blog and read about the "prodigals." Phenomenal post, my friend. I'm glad Bill Kinnon linked it as part of the TPFKA series.

I linked to Bill who linked to you. Good stuff!

 
At 4/22/2007 1:39 AM, Blogger Old Pete said...

I have responded at http://oldpete66.blogspot.com

I would appreciate any feedback

 
At 4/24/2007 6:04 AM, Anonymous Jon said...

Bitterness party of one

your table is ready

HAAAAAAAAAA

 
At 4/24/2007 6:54 AM, Anonymous sloggy said...

Having come to the Lord as an adult after being raised a pagan and being heavily involved in the bar crowd I have never let go of the idea that there are some things being done better in the bars of America than in the church buildings of America and that continures to bother me. I have as a goal to find a way to do something about it. I think one of the reasons is that there are several bars in our area which are owned and operated by Christians. They are much more available for one thing.

 
At 4/24/2007 9:31 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Jon,
That was funny.
Now read the follow-up post where I wrote, "It's risky writing as we did because some will think we're petulant or whiney or bitter [I actually wrote "bitter" anticipating, Jon, your snide remark]. As far as I can tell, Bill is a happy guy. And I'm enjoying the place God has called me to at this time in my life. Others may conclude differently. Such is the risk when you reveal the 'family secrets'."

 
At 4/24/2007 9:32 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

sloggy,
for whatever reason there seems to be more honesty in bars than in churches. That's sad.

 
At 5/01/2007 12:13 PM, Blogger Steven said...

John,

Thanks for the insight into the life of a pastor! I am adding my prayers along with my hope that this TPFKA outcry will not only spark system change, but real change in hearts. I was inspired after reading all of the posts to make a post of my own.

Thanks for the inspiration!
Steven

 
At 5/03/2007 8:37 AM, Blogger Stan said...

Thanks for this post. I was listening to Andy Stanley at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. He said something that really blew my mind. He said, 'It's not my job to grow the church.' I have always put the pressure on myself to 'grow' the church. I have been in full-time preaching ministry for 5 years, since I graduated in 2002. The ministry is difficult. There are expectations from many different directions, and that pressure causes many 'pastors' to falter. Pressure from the congregation, from the leaders, from yourself and sometimes from the family. Eventually that pressure can really get to you. I think that 'pastors' need to realize that some of those things you mentioned in your post are good; vision statements, skill in communication, teams of people, etc.; but when those things replace God as the One who will grow His Church, then we are headed down a very destructive path. We can use new methodologies, we can try new programs, we can have some of those things, but the second we replace God with us and what we can do, we will soon fail.

 
At 5/03/2007 11:47 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Steven,
I checked out "The Movement Formerly Known As The Reformation" Good stuff.

 
At 5/03/2007 11:49 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Stan,
I agree with you. I recently posted "You Can't Hurry Love or Growth" highlighting we must learn our part and God's part.

 
At 6/06/2007 10:56 PM, Anonymous Steve Price said...

Pastor Frye,
I am reading "Jesus, The Pastor" again. My 4th time now. And just tonight discovered your blog. I just want you to know that God has used you to rewire my thinking and has helped to heal me in so many ways. The Kingdom needs this message desperately. Keep it up.

 
At 1/31/2008 11:42 AM, Anonymous David said...

Steven,

After being a member or attender of 'worship services' under the institutional aegis of the Vatican, Assemblies of God, Southern Baptists, independent Bible Church nametag, Evangelical Free Church, PCA, and CREC, I was finally finished with all the flavors I could bear to taste. I will settle for Jesus Christ, thanks.

I think “the Reformation” is one of the most insidious, durable frauds in human history. As Thielemann vanBraght's 17th century tome called "The Martyrs' Mirror" will attest, the ‘Reformed Faith’ wing of that period were part of the problem, not the solution. But just as was the case with the ‘Federalist’ versus ‘Anti-Federalist’ political war in America, the winners not only get to write the history; they flip the labels around to take the nicest for themselves.

Steven, we *don’t* need another “Reformation”, really! After you read van Braght’s huge tome spanning sixteen centuries of torture and murder in the name of religious institutions and even in the Name of Christ, you’ll realise that Foxe's Book of Martyrs was a political screed, like a GOP pamphlet. It was the ‘Calvin Party’ pamphlet highlighting one century of war casualties for only one side, out of fifteen centuries of martyrs. It would be like a book on “the horrors of Civil War death”, that covered only the casualties of the South, or only those of the North.

As van Braght’s book illustrates, the reformation of the Church has continued unabated from the time of the apostles. It just so happened that Luther and Calvin got to use the new printing press, and they had higher political aspirations and far more *chutzpah* than those who went before, or those who didn’t sit on city councils or in the royal pale. They cut deals with Rome and they retained just as many of its rituals as would keep the masses happy. That’s how you win elections and keep the church coffers full; it’s not how you live for Christ.

I stir up these historical ashes in my upcoming book from Xulon Press, entitled "This Bloodless Liberty". I expose and work through several mega-trends in modern America, and probe the stream of institutional propaganda that began in the American colonies and has held the masses’ imagination ever since in Church, State, and schoolhouse.

So no, Steven; we don’t need “another Reformation”; we didn’t even need the last one! When we follow men (whether politicians of Church or State) and their nostrums and promises, rather than the simple gospel of Christ, we will hit the rocks every time.

The ‘Reformation’ must be viewed in historical context, with our blinders off and putting our Calvin and Luther coffee mugs on the shelf until we get to the bottom of it. (Coffee mugs, idolatrous? Yep; sure can be.) So Steven, while Luther, Calvin, Hus, Zwingli et al looked very reformational compared with the Vatican's status quo, their followers were almost as murderous and cruel as those of the Vatican horde. Those mere Christians who stuck to the NT as written and refused to adopt paedopapist rituals, were ruined for it. They were tortured in the name of “peace and purity”. They were burned to death for the purity of the Church. They were drownde in a ‘third baptism’, as the ‘Reformers’ liked to call it. God save us from such reformers.

The 'Reformed Faith' is not only one of the most oxymoronic tags in history. It remains so to this day, among self-appointed keepers of "real doctrine and true faith"; dear brothers who look down their noses (from their book-lined studies) at the Pentecostal, the Fundamentalist, the Mennonite, and literally everyone else. They are attracted to “ruling” offices; to multi-level legal process, appeals, and counterclaims; to theological nit-picking, and much more.

Since graduating from my 'Reformed Faith' phase, I've approached over a dozen leading lights of that camp, to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the American family and Church today. If you are ‘Reformed’, you know these men and you look up tto them as very gods (I know; I was in your camp not long ago). Most ironically for such cerebral types, not *one* of these leading, ruling, erudite men that I’ve approached shows the least interest in discussing these things, or in reading the few books I recommend for their education.

No, Steven; we don’t need another ‘Reformation’ for Doctors Luther and Calvin still live, breathe, and write. Upton Sinclair said it a little differently: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

(Yes, that was a polemic.)

 
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