What exactly are we doing when we gather as churches for worship? And how do we know what we should be doing in those weekly gatherings?
Naturally, evangelical Christians turn to Scripture for guidance on these questions, but where in Scripture do we look? There’s plenty about worship in the Old Testament—about prayers and sacrifices and choirs and cymbals and much else. But does all that material actually apply to new covenant gatherings of believers?
How would you write a pastor’s job description? Where would you look for models? Maybe you’d ask a few other local churches for theirs and make a few tweaks to reflect your own church’s schedule and programs.
That assumes, of course, that everyone already knows what a pastor is supposed to be and do. But how do we know what a pastor’s fundamental role is?
In a recent piece I made a case that imagination is an important and perhaps neglected tool in the church reform toolkit. On one level, imagination is simply applying faith to thinking. You may not see how your church could ever embody anything like biblical health, but God is the God of the impossible.
Which means that pastoral ministry is the art of the impossible. Which means that many pastors could afford to stretch and strengthen their imaginations. But how?
This might sound strange coming from a 9Marks guy, but I suspect one of the least-diagnosed pastoral blind spots is a lack of imagination.
I don’t mean that pastors need to cram their sermons full of creative stories or coax a bold vision for their church out of the murky depths of their subconscious. Instead, I mean that it’s all too easy to limit what we think is right to what we think is possible. Often, if a pastor can’t see how he can lead his people somewhere right now, he may not be inclined to consider whether God in fact points him there in his Word.
For the past few days I’ve been more or less confined to bed. That’s rare for me, since I’m twenty-seven and healthy. But I’ve got a degenerative disc in my lower back that flares up once in a long while.