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We live in an era of the informal, an impact of the 1960s. Friday is casual for many businesses; pastors go by first names; professors don’t have to wear ties or coats and some wear blue jeans; kids “hang out” with their parents; high school students … I won’t even start.
What I’d like to start, though, is a conversation about the “pastor pages” or “staff” pages on church websites. I’ve been on two or three recently that reveal what I’m perceiving to be a trend. The impact of the pastor’s webpage is a bold and blunt revelation of what they like…
But what do you expect of a pastor’s page on a church website?
Here are samples of questions that pastors are answering on church website pastor’s pages.
what’s on the iPod
what’s eaten for breakfast
what’s the favorite movie
what’s being read
what’s most annoying
what’s the tattoo
what’s the most humiliating experience in life — like being duct taped to a pole
what’s the biggest mistake made
what’s the make of the car … I could go on … you get the point.
One site had a question about the “dream job” for the pastors and not one of them put down
pastoring or preaching and discipling … one had building furniture.
Nothing wrong with building furniture, that’s for sure, but … if your dream job isn’t pastoring … well, it should be.
What annoyed me about these sites was the utter absence of a sense of
the sacred in pastoring, of the overwhelming sense of God’s call upon a
life that reaches so deep that everything becomes holy, of the profound
respect and privilege of the call to lead God’s people, and of the total lack
of order. The sense we hear today of being real and authentic doesn’t mean we devalue the pastoral calling of its sanctity. I couldn’t and wouldn’t call any of these folks “Reverend.” If I were a visitor, I’d go somewhere else.
OK, I’m for informality; I’m for being real; I’m for family and fun and the like. Occasional informalities and common realities are wonderful. But a church site with pages for pastors ought to reflect the sacred wisdom of the ages and sacredness of the vocation. Some of these folks need to wear the collar for a year, daily.
Recently Kris and I were in Atlanta. When the cabbie learned I had preached at a church, he asked me if I took prayer requests. When we got out of the car, he gave it to me and asked me not to look at it until later. I did, and prayed for him … he asked me to pray for his anxiety about financial matters. That cabbie’s perception of a preacher was someone who had access to God. Pastor pages on websites might learn from this perception.