Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Presence-Driven Pastors Tend, Not Run, the Garden

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Snow falling on my back yard

A Presence-Driven Church is organic.

The soil is the hearts of the people.

The people are taught to abide in Christ.

God is the seed planter.

In the Christ-abiding connection, God sows dreams and visions, course correction and direction, into the hearts of the people.

The Presence-Driven Pastor is not threatened by this. They welcome and nurture it, like parents caring for a newborn baby. The Presence-Driven Pastor is like an expectant parent who prays for this child to be born, prepares a room for it to flourish, and celebrates its arrival.

This is Real Church, a community where everyone (not just the pastor) gets to play. Everyone is part of the movement. Everyone is a leader. When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. (1 Corinthians 14:26)

To allow this you must let go of control. Which is hard for an Entertainment-Driven Pastor to do. (Hard for many of us, right?) These pastors control the Studio Church. The many are not as talented or as beautiful or as camera-friendly as the few. So they run the garden, rather than tend it. The people are spiritually lobotomized, becoming an audience of outsiders. The Entertainment-Driven Pastor of the Consumer Church has been seduced and trafficked by the American honor-shame hierarchy.

This is, Eugene Peterson writes, a dark vocational shift. It is the "radical fall from vocational holiness to career idolatry," which "goes undetected by all but the serpent." (Eugene Peterson, Eugene H., Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness, p. 7)

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I am now writing Leading the Presence-Driven Church. (Summer 2017)