(Please don’t get tripped by the title of this post. This post is not about the use of titles like “pastor.” I don’t like titles either, but many among the church use them. And, in the post below, one of the people uses that title…)
In his post, Joe tells the story of a man he met while manning a booth at a conference:
Tim turned to me, a captive audience at the booth, and proclaimed, “That man is my pastor.”
Tim’s “pastor” leads a popular church in Seattle and since I had recently moved from that area, I was interested to know if we had some friends in common, so I asked, “Oh, so you are from Seattle? What brings you to LA?”
Tim’s answer surprised me, “No,” he said, “I live here in LA.”
Now I was intrigued. How could Pastor X, be Tim’s pastor if he lived 1,200 miles away? So I asked, “Did you recently move here from Seattle?”
“No.” Tim replied, “my church meets in my house and we watch Pastor X’s sermon every week on DVD.”
Make sure you read the rest of Joe’s post. He makes some good observations about Tim and his relationship (or lack thereof) with “Pastor X.” He uses this story as a jumping off point to talk about “celebrity pastors.”
But, in reality, for many among the church in the West, the “pastor” is just as much of a stranger and just as much “out of reach” as a person speaking on a DVD.
If you do not know someone – or are not growing to know someone – and if you never see them in a context other than speaking in front of a group of people, then that person is not shepherding (pastoring) you, regardless of what title the person may take for himself or be given by others.