the weblog of Alan Knox

Can you “pastor” someone if they can’t get in touch with you?

Posted by on Apr 28, 2011 in blog links, discipleship, elders | 5 comments

Can you “pastor” someone if they can’t get in touch with you?

Chaplain Mike at “Internet Monk” critiques an example of “radical” in his post “A ‘Radical’ Example.” (There’s probably a better way to say that.)

In the post, Mike examines another blog post from a “radical” church planter. At one point (point #8), the “church planter” says this:

8. If you think this will be a nice little church that stays the same size, where everybody knows your name and you have my cell number on speed dial and we have a picnic lunch together every week (By God’s grace, we want to grow).

Mike rightly points out some of the flaws in this statement when he says:

Through this preemptive strike, [this church planter] is laying the groundwork for handling complaints about the lack of pastoral care that will inevitably become common because leaders are so involved in the mission that they don’t have time to visit people in the hospital. He is preparing people for the day when congregation members can no longer talk to him personally. One day they will have to go through layers of administrative bureaucracy and probably still won’t be able to get an appointment because he won’t be the one who deals with the hoi polloi any longer. He’s innoculating them with a view to the day they will be stricken with longing for when they felt like a church family, when they knew the others around them, when they didn’t feel like someone who bought a ticket for a show in the city auditorium. He’s preparing them with the first of many pronouncements that complaints won’t be tolerated about the direction of the church and the decisions of her leaders, because, after all, we have a mission, we are dedicated to that mission, God is blessing that mission by causing us to grow, and therefore we all need to just put our big pants on and get with the program.

(If you want to read all of the original points from the church planter and all of Mike’s responses, use the link above.)

I just have one more point to add to Mike’s critique: If someone cannot get in touch with you, then you are not pastoring that person. If someone cannot spend one-on-one time with you, then you are not pastoring that person. It seems fairly simple to me.


5 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-28-2011

    Alan, you added “I just have one more point to add to Mike’s critique: If someone cannot get in touch with you, then you are not pastoring that person. If someone cannot spend one-on-one time with you, then you are not pastoring that person. It seems fairly simple to me.”

    I am in full agreement. We have a saying around Connections using the acronym AIR.
    Jesus is Approachable, Impartial, and Relational. If I as pastor cannot project these qualities I cannot expect others to do so. Everyone at Connections has my cell number. I do, of course have to manage my time and proprieties by situation but I am approachable and am easily contacted.

  2. 4-28-2011

    Doug,

    Exactly. There are always times when I can’t be contacted. For example, last weekend I was out town in a place with very little cell coverage. But, normally, anyone can contact me at any time. The same goes for our other elders, as well as other people in the church who are pastoring daily. But, if someone has to wade through layers of bureaucracy to contact you, then something is wrong (especially if you think you are pastoring that person).

    -Alan

  3. 4-28-2011

    Alan,

    Mike certainly saw the reality behind the fellows list.

    Amen to your added comment.

    Reminds me of a “pastor”, in the town where we ministered, who distributed a flyer in which he said he would only be available during normal business office hours, Monday to Friday. He stated his lunch break was two hours.

  4. 4-28-2011

    Aussie John,

    “Office hours” for pastoring people just doesn’t fit in the way I think about the church.

    -Alan

  5. 4-29-2011

    Alan,

    I’m with you on that! So many opportunities came to us at the weirdest of times: 2.00 a.m, 8.30 p.m.

    I’m so glad that Jesus didn’t keep “office hours”.