A friend of mine coming out of seminary had an opportunity to go on staff at one of the largest United Methodist Churches in the nation. It was a good move for him politically and financially. I heard that the interview with the Senior Pastor inclluded this statement: “I work 80-100 hours a week, and expect my staff to do so as well.”
That was a quarter century ago, before the MBA took over the UMC. We werenu all metric-cized then like we are now. There was, the implicit message from above that the more the churches we were appointed to looked like Frazer Memorial or Ginghamsburg, the more successful our ministry was considered.
Today’s question is: do the metrics and narratives that are expected include space for self care and healthy family commitment?
Many pastors of very large churches have chosen church over family, and have the broken relationships to show for it. So do many others.
I am not out to vilify senior pastors of large churches. I am willing, however, to vilify a system that pressures men and women, in the name of the gospel, to value job over relationship.
We all agree that church is about the ministry of reconciliation; of becoming more and more reconciled with God, of offering this opportunity to others, and of fostering their ability to move into it. Can we, together, find better ways to balance this with our quest for numerical growth and the immediacy with which our culture is so infatuated?