The pastor as corporate spiritual director

Main Article Content

J. David Muyskens

Abstract

As pastor of the church, I called the property committee chair to tell him that several contractors had indicated an interest in painting our church. He responded, "Could you call them and have them come by during the week to look at the job?" "Sure," I said, "I can do that." I had the time, and he was busy with his job. I could call from the church office and arrange for the contractors to come by.


The property committee chairman and I had both bought into the model of the minister as manager of the church. As pastor, I was the church's full-time employee. So I had the time to attend to the details of managing the church. This was the same as any other staff executive working for a nonprofit organization. The YMCA, the United Way, and the Housing Coalition all operate this way. The board hires an executive who organizes the staff and the office, directing the work of the organization. The church's property committee chair and other consistory members of the church are its board. They set the policies. The executive officer, the minister, runs the everyday affairs of the church.


But is that my calling as pastor? I am the presiding officer of the congregation, so I have some responsibility for administration of the church organization. But I was ordained to be a minister of Word and Sacrament. I was installed as pastor and teacher of the congregation. My responsibility is to be a spiritual leader. As a spiritual leader, how do I draw attention to God's presence and action in the life of the congregation? How am I to represent Christ and be his minister to the people? If we take a business model from the world around us, is my model that of a CEO, functioning as a company manager to dispense goods or services to consumers? Do Scripture and church history give me a model for my ministry?

Article Details

Keywords
Spiritual life -- Christianity; Spiritual directors; Spiritual formation; Church work; Pastoral theology
Section
Articles