I mentioned that fellow saint and sinner Tammy Perlutter’s review of Dave Kraft’s book, Leaders Who Last, was one inspiration for my last post. Here it is for your feedback. You can find more of Tammy’s musings at her blog, “Raggle-Taggle.” (Thanks for sharing, Tammy!) Have any of you read Kraft’s book? If so, would you agree or disagree with Tammy’s inferences?
“The Bane of the Pastor: Nice and Draining People”
This is a slightly scathing review of Dave Kraft’s book, Leaders Who Last. This is a Re:Lit publication put out by Mars Hill. To be honest, I’ve been less than impressed by what has been coming out of Mars Hill and especially what’s been coming out of Mark Driscoll. I’ve also been just plain mortified by what I have been experiencing and reading about regarding leadership and pastoring in our Evangelical churches. And this book describes it perfectly.
This book started off fairly strong, although it was bit too mega-churchy, motivational speaker-like for my taste. I did a lot of highlighting and I will attempt to implement some of his suggestions. My biggest concern and major argument with the book is the last section.
In the introduction he defines a leader as “a servant of God who is called by God to shepherd, develop, equip and empower a specific group of believers . . .”
Sounds great. Until you discover the disclaimer at the end of the sentence. “A specific group of believers.” At first I assumed the specific group of believers is the church body the pastor/leader is called to shepherd. It turns out I was wrong.
“Why is so little time invested in the right kinds of people? The draining and nice people get all the prime time. The resourceful and the trainable get the leftovers.”
“Suffice it to say, a leader needs to spend the largest chunk of his ‘people hours’ meeting with disciples hungry for training, not counseling with draining people.”
So basically, Dave Kraft is saying that the rest of the church, the ones who aren’t hungry for discipleship or who are in a state of need, are the wrong kind of people the leader should be spending his “people hours” with. So the leader should delegate them to other “leaders” with lesser skill, less time, and even less respect for the individual.
I am seriously starting to think that the term “pastor” should not even be given to someone who does not have the spiritual gift of shepherding or the desire to invest in people. We do not get to choose our community, we are graciously invited to be a part of it. Has the very definition of shepherding changed in the last 2,000 years and I’m expecting something of a pastor that I shouldn’t? Is “pastoral care” obsolete?
Maybe we need to redefine what a pastor or leader is, and name them accordingly. A leader who isn’t a shepherd should have a different title altogether, like Sunday service facilitator, lead teacher, vision-caster, preacher, congregational motivator, or we can just call them “person who leads a specific group of believers–but only the ones he deems worthy of his time and attention–so as to make more leaders just like himself, who don’t waste their precious gifts and skills and degrees on those who will never bless and improve and grow the church like they will.”
Did I say that out loud?