Friday, September 09, 2005

Jimmy Draper recommends John Piper

In the current issue of Facts and Trends, Dr. Jimmy Draper, President of Lifeway, comments on a recent research report issued by Ellison Research on why Protestant ministers change jobs.

Among the study's many findings is this: only 25% of Southern Baptist ministers attribute moving from one church ministry to another as a result of God's call. Other reasons include wanting to live in a different community (30%) and wanting a larger church (22%). It is an interesting study and the research looks at more than just Southern Baptists.

Dr. Draper's comments are worth repeating here:

Wanting a different community, a promotion and better pay are all legitimate reasons for job changes if you are in a corporate environment, but it is a dangerous trend for the pastoral ministry. I recommend to you an excellent and challenging book written by John Piper, titled Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, published by Broadman & Holman (2002). "The professionalization of the ministry ... is a threat to the profoundly spiritual nature of our work," Piper writes. "... The love of professionalism kills a man's belief that he is sent by God to save people from hell and to make them Christ-exalting, spiritual aliens in the world. The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man."


I say "Amen" to Dr. Draper's recommendation. Get Dr. Piper's book and read it. Or get it and give it to your favorite pastor. It is a great corrective to much that is wrong in contemporary approaches to pastoral ministry.

18 comments:

Tony K. said...

At Southern Seminary they encourage the students to think of taking a church for a lifelong tenure. Once I heard it being compared to marriage. Of course many gu

ys at Southern can quote Piper's books from memory.

joethorn.net said...

At both of my schools (Moody in Chicago, and Southern Seminary) the emphasized longevity in both ministry, and a particular pastorate. Men like Gill have always inspired me with their pastoral ministry lasting so long (50 years in Gill's case I believe).

Dr. Draper has been saying some great things, issuing great challenges to the leaders in our Convention this past year. I will be at the Lifeway trustees meeting (nope I'm not a trustee) next week when Dr. Rainer is nominated and voted on as the next Prez of Lifeway. I am hopeful that this will continue much of what Dr. Draper has started.

Jeff said...

One of the main reasons that most pastors move around is that for most pastors the first church or two after seminary simply does not pay enough money to support a family. A pastor has to move to two or three bigger churches if he is going to make enough money so that his wife can stay home with the children and not have to work. Additionally, right after seminary, a pastor usually ends up with a small church full of old people who have no vision for the future and thus oppose all changes. If a pastor wants to accomplish anything in ministry, he usually has to plant a church or move to a bigger one where there are more younger people who are open to a new vision.

I do not think that a pastor should feel some kind of moral obligation to stay forever at the first church he pastors after seminary. A lot of people now are criticizing pastors who move around a lot, but I would like to see these critics try to live on the salaries of the small churches that hire ministers straight out of seminary.

Jeff said...
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Tim Ellsworth said...

But Jeff, where's your faith that God will provide? :)

I'm kidding. You make a good point. My dad is a pastor who made more than one move in order to provide for his family. My mom stayed home with us, so his salary had to suffice. Unfortunately, too many churches are miserly scrooges when it comes to paying their pastors.

Scripture Searcher said...

Draper and Piper are right.
RESTLESS REVERENDS are the reason for much unrest in so many churches both in and out of the Southern Baptist convention.

Jeff said...

Draper served as pastor of several different churches during his career. He did not stay at the first church that called him as pastor. He went to several churches before pastoring First Baptist Del City, Oklahoma, a huge church. From there he moved to be the associate pastor at First Baptist Dallas, with hopes of replacing Criswell. When that didn't happen, he moved to First Baptist Euless, a huge megachurch in the DFW area. Draper continually moved to bigger and bigger churches. Why does he expect younger pastors to stay at small churches (full of old people with no vision) at miniscule salaries that make it impossible to support a family?

jthomas899 said...

The point is not that pastors move, it is how they move, and their ambitions.

Jeff

Jabbok said...

Congregational rule has removed the opportunity of longevity for many pastors. They would like to stay but the church says, "no".

The church (Baptists in particular) maintain a three to four year rotation that some can't seem to break out of.

A plurality of eldership and a renewed understanding of the "church covenant" would go a long way to remedy this, in my opinion.

The Monk said...

"RESTLESS REVERENDS are the reason for much unrest in so many churches both in and out of the Southern Baptist convention."

Conversely, there are many SBC congregations that do not want pastors to remain for a long tenure (particularly in areas where a seminary is nearby) and others who beat up pastor after pastor after pastor.

It's a two-way street.

hashbrown said...

If your in a church with old people, commit to be there longer than they will live.

I joined a church with well over 75% of the congregation at or above retirment age. I'm committed to be here (the parsonage helps my wife stay home with the twins).

They may have an attitude of "we were here before you came and we'll be here after your gone", but they may be wrong. Some of the negative people have left or died already.

AFter three years of plugging away at the campuses we are seeing many university students come to hear the Word of God preached.

The past two sundays, out of about 95 in attendance, we had around 20 university student worshipping alongside mostly senior citizens. Praise the Lord!

I'm teaching for change, and not insisting on it right away. Preaching & planting truth verse by verse on elders, church discipline, worship, covanent, sovereignty issues.

I trust that God will some day cause what I have planted to grow. But the type of change I am preaching/teaching for will require atleast 10 years to see the firstfruits of the church embracing the marks of a healthy church.

Hashman

deacon said...

"Why does he expect younger pastors to stay at small churches (full of old people with no vision) at miniscule salaries that make it impossible to support a family?"

Why do you generalize that all small churches are only ones with old members and don't have a vision. My church is small and has been for sometime, we also have many young parents, I being one of them. The people that come here see the benifit of having a small body of believers. Acountability is one of them.

Jeff said...

> Why do you generalize that all small churches are only ones with old members and don't have a vision <

Probably just over-generalizing from my personal experience.

joethorn.net said...

Great stuff Hashman.

Kelly said...

Part of the reason pastors don't stay long is a poor candidating process which results in the church and/or the pastor not looking realistically at each other.

I have been at my current church for eleven years and I think part of the reason is the candidating process was very thorough. We both had a good idea of what we were getting.

Scott Hill said...
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Scott Hill said...

At any point in that survey did it mention how many Pastors move because the church fired them. I grew up a Southern Baptist PK and know the trials of dealing with churches who are not biblically structured in their government. Most Pastors only last two years in churches and I think I know the reason.

That is how long it takes for the congregation to realize that this new Pastor really expects us to work and grow, so lets get us a new one. This new Pastor wants us to change. I actually heard a person tell my dad "I was here when you got here, and I'll be here when your gone. We ain't doing that at this church."

The "thing we aint doing" was move the senior adult class to a different room because the young adult class that had tripled in a year needed the room.

The biblical role of a deacon has totally been obscured in most SBC churches. Most deacons are making spiritual decisions that they are not qualified to make. I firmly believe until churches put biblically qualified men in postitions of leadership, and structure thier church biblically that this two year and out cycle will continue.

student said...

From many of the posts, it seems that professionalism among pastors is deeply-ingrained. Many of the answers are based on a professionalistic kind of pastorate - the amount of salary, separation from the 'members', competition with members, a superiority over the members (like Diotrephes ?). "Wait till they die or move."