In a recent conversation with my friend Lloyd John Ogilvie, he said that in his fifty years of ministry he has learned to ask himself four pastoral questions:
- What sort of people does Christ want to deploy in the world?
- What sort of church do we need to produce those people?
- What sort of leaders do we need to produce that sort of church?
- What sort of pastor do I need to be to produce that sort of leaders in that sort of church?
What wonderful questions I like the emphasis here on disciple-making as the point of pastoral work. Paul would probably call it “edification” of believers, but I like Lloyd’s stress on performance, enactment, and witness to the gospel as the purpose of it all. Ministry is known by its fruit and the test of my ministry is not only my fidelity to the gospel but also the production of saints. Truth to tell, fidelity to the gospel requires the calling and equipping of disciples, church turned inside out.
In our churches today I sense a new spirit of accountability, evaluating ourselves by holding ourselves accountable to the mission of Christ and his church. Too often we have spent our energy planning and organizing without regard to results. Our Dashboard, along with NCD and other means is really helping us to focus on results, on the fruit of our work. Ogilvie’s questions seem to be in the spirit of our determination to focus on results.
In my own ministry, as we enter another new year, I am going to try to do a better job of holding myself accountable to ask these four questions.
William H. Willimon
Rick Owen of our Stewardship Resources is sponsoring a “Core Strategy” summit for pastors and church leaders on January 26, 2010 at Vestavia Hills UMC with me and Reggie McNeal. You can register at www.corechurches.com.
6 thoughts on “Four Questions for Pastors”
1) Jesus wants to deploy everyone for mission.2) The deployment of a variety of people requires a variety of churches.3) Diverse churches in changing times have in common a need for adaptive leaders.4) Church leaders need to lead by example–they need to be practitioners of mission.
ok Josh this might be fun1) transformed2) transformed3) transformed4) transformed
Habit is a second nature...................................................
They are four good questions. In response to question 1, one only has to read the gospels to determine what "sort of" people Jesus wanted to deploy, it certainly wasn't the legalistic doctrinaires. The church needs adaptive leaders, whether they want to be adaptive or not. In response to question 4, some of the church leaders I've come across I wouldn't want to follow their example – they seem to be in the same boat as me!!
1. Holiness of God2. Guilt3. Grace4. GratitudeThis drives everything and even answers those four questions which is all driven by the Gospel. I love to see your postings Willimon. I am a former UM and I had almost given up all hope on the UM as a Denomination. My former church prides itself on the following slogan… "Not Your Ordinary Church"…But, my slogan for them is…"Not a Church at All!!!"Thank you again for being focused on the Gospel. I would love to speak with you some time. My church is heading in a "seeker" type of mode and it is scary.Grace and Peace,Chriswww.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
(1). What sort of people does Christ want to deploy in the world?People with a passion for the Gospel and for proclaiming it is both word and life.(2). What sort of church do we need to produce those people? A church that trusts the transforming presence and action of God in human life and the whole of creation through Christ and in the Holy Spirit.(3). What sort of leaders do we need to produce that sort of church? Leaders that are fconvicted of God's spendthrift love for all persons and God's desire to convert and bring to holiness the entire creation, even people.(4). What sort of pastor do I need to be to produce that sort of leaders in that sort of church?One who lives out faith as trust in a God who truly does make all the difference in life and in the world, not just in some here after, but in today.GLD (Duke 86-88)