When Pastoral Care Means Taking Care of the Pastor

"There are pastors who won't go to people's sick beds. How can people of God turn their back on the sick, poor and hungry?"      James Robinson


courtesy of NASA

Sunset over the Sahara-NASA


On Monday, we will look at the 20/20 story on the IFB churches which dealt with sexual and child abuse.


What has happened to the role of pastor? I think of the genial Methodist minister who lived up the street who occasionally visited our home, along with the homes of all of our neighbors, for coffee and cookies. He was often found at the local hospitals and nursing homes, visiting church members and even some locals who were not church attendees. He attended Little League games, cheering on the kids from his youth group. He attended school board meeting and gave the occasional prayer.


Our Russian Orthodox priest always viited our home. He could be seen dancing the polka at the Polish festivals and kept a similar schedule to his Methodist counterpart. Both men were known, respected and genuinely liked by the community in Salem, Massachusetts. Soon after I became a Christian, I met another pastor who was cut from the same cloth. These gentle men formed my view of the pastorate. That perception has taken a hit in the last two decades.


Today's pastor is more like a rock star. He swoops in, does his sermon, well protected by body guards on his stage, and then he is off to speaking engagements and book signings. A former member of Ed Young Jr.s church told me that he had spent ten years at Fellowship Church, led Sunday school classes and developed Sunday school and Bible study materials. He attended meetings, services, events and workshops and never ONCE in those ten years ever met Ed Young Jr. Not ONCE. Until recently, he didn't think that was unusual.


What is a pastor or minister? The basic definition says it is one who leads a congregation. Interestingly, the word minister is also a verb. We have all used the word "to minister" as we discuss our service to others. I think of a minister or pastor as one who is doing. Doing what? Well, look at the synonyms of the word found on Encarta. Link. These include " attend, look after, care, tend, nurse, wait on, comfort, aid,and support."


So what is a pastor or minister? One who cares, aids and supports. Now, think of the mega church pastors or hyper-authoritarian pastors that we write about. Do any of these verbs describe your perceptions of them? The antonym for minister is neglect. And that one word says it all.


Think about all the ministers that are high profile. Do they wait on, care for and comfort their church? I received an email from an elder at a church of a high profile minister that I had criticized for always being on the road. This church had experienced a fair number of tragedies but the pastor kept on traveling and speaking. This elder said that the pastor was not hired to "care for" the church. They had volunteers do that. He was hired to teach and they liked the fact that he was nationally recognized. I responded that he wasn't a pastor, merely a celebrated lecturer. I suggested they develop a fee per lecture. They might be able to save the church money and be able to hire a real pastor. I received no response.


Today, most pastors (clarification 4/16-I am referring to the mega pastors and many of the Calvinistas) earn salaries in the 6 figures. There is speculation that higher profile pastors earn  between $600,000-$1,000,000. One man wrote me and said that his church received an application for a vacant music minister position. Said applicant spent time in one of the mega Dallas churches and he expected to start around $150,000. He was not hired.


I have read that, in certain churches, the tables have been turned and the pastors are the ones who are supposed to be waited on and attended to . The pastor exists on a separate plane from the church members because he is specially anointed and he is to be treated as a "cut above" the others. The members are expected to babysit, gratis, the preachers' kids,  to wash his cars, to clean his houses and to provide regular meals.  They also expect fancy gifts. Mac Brunson accepted a very expensive piece of land on which to build a house. He lives better than most of the people in his church. This scenario is played out throughout the country.


I recently read the writings of a young pastor. He confessed that he felt very inadequate when he looked at his fellow preachers (all young). They were receiving book deals and speaking engagements. He said he needed to be content with what he was doing. What struck me was his assumption that the book deals and speaking fees were considered normative for a pastor's life.


Please do not misunderstand me. There are many, many pastors who love and care for their churches. They are far more than lecturers. Many of them exist on subsistence pay and I respect them for their commitment to their calling.


However, there is the other side. An alert reader sent me the following video in which  pastor trains his people in "pastoral care." However, in this sense, it means they need to take care of his family and him. He, at least, has the good sense to say that what he is saying is not found in the Bible. But he wants it anyway.


So, if you are a pastor and want free babysitters and free car washes, listen to this guy.







Lydia's Corner: Joshua 13:1-14:15 Luke 18:1-17 Psalm 85:1-13 Proverbs 13:7-8



When Pastoral Care Means Taking Care of the Pastor — 76 Comments

  1. “Today, most pastors earn salaries in the 6 figures.”

    Do you have some statistical evidence to back that sentence up? I think it would be more accurate to use the word “some” or “a few” instead of “most.” In my neck of the woods (the upper-midwest), most pastors make no where near 6 figures. If a pastor does make 6 figures, he is most likely the odd-man out. I speak from years of experience as the son of a pastor (a PK). My father never made anything close to 6 figures. After all, my father wasn’t in it for the money, he was in it to preach the Word. You need to tone down your overly-expansive accusations.

  2. It is no wonder we are told that “The love of money is the root of all evil”. I am not nor will I ever be a 6 figure pastor. That really doesn’t bother me because as mentioned in the article Pastor is a title , I like to think I am a minister. I don’t visit in the home as much as i did 30 yrs ago because with both homeowners working and very busy when they are home a visitor can be a distraction. I still have plenty to do hospital visits funerals wedding and counseling are all time consuming. And oh yes I preach on Sunday. Most of my pastor friends have a similiar schedule. I must admit I don’t see the mega church pastors very much, I suppose they have to be selective with their time. I don’t want this to sound too self-serving but there are still some ministering pastors left. I had something happen to me when i was in my early thirties. I was pastoring a small church of about 150 members. I was approached by a pulpit committee who represented a much larger congregation, when a 1,000 membership seemed large. I convinced myself this was what The Lord wanted me to do. I was wrong. It turned into my most miserable time in the minstry. I eventually went to a smaller church numerically but larger in spirituality and have been much happier. I so feel for our young ministers. You are only considered a success if u draw down six figures dunk a lot of people and are a good politician. Now i am not speaking about our brethren in othet denominations but i am very familiar with S.B.C. To those who have a good pastor who should be a servant to Christ, support him or her but just remember we are all human. God is our ultimate judge.

  3. It is an indictment of the church that both the fellows linked to above are still in a position of leadership. But maybe no-one wants to raise their hand and ask a question or two about what is going on in case they get labeled slanderous, divisive, judgmental and unforgiving….

    God have mercy on the crowds who cry out that the emperors’ clothes are awesome!

    God give us the courage to raise our hands and point out the charlatans.

  4. Citation Squirrel

    I was referring to the mega church pastors when I said that. If you read to the bottom of my rant you will see that I mention the many, many pastors who make very little money. However, there are plenty of statistics on the salaries of mega pastors. Sorry for any confusion.

  5. “It caused problems in my marriage because every Sunday morning at 6:00 I was at my pastor’s house washing his car”

    Where in the world is that in the Bible?


  6. Lise, I am the author of Serve One Another in Love. Perhaps you have a pastor who doesn’t do their job or don’t have a pastor at all. In our very small community, the pastors all work harder than most other people! On the other hand, thanks for the link!

    I get emails relating to church business at all hours of the day and night from our pastor. She is there early in the morning and tries to be there for as many of the events as she can. She visits all of our shut-ins every week, visits the hospital many days per week and makes countless sacrifices. Sure, I’ve had some bad pastors in my life, but you can’t dispute the numbers!

  7. Heather, I am from (though no longer attend) a very large church with Pastors who seem more interested in their book signings then in their “flock”. If your congregation has a Pastor that is not like those mentioned above then PTL because I was about to give up hope. Though quoting those numbers seems almost like a guilt trip to me regardless. It gives the same bad taste in my mouth as people who talk about sacrificing so much to go on a ONE week mission trip abroad- one that is more of a vacation than a mission trip. Yes I know the two are not related but the taste is still there…

    But I am truly glad that you have such a wonderful Pastor. I noticed you said ‘she’ btw. Let’s just say it’s another no-no on my former church’s list. I think we are coming from two very different backgrounds, I only posted a link because it was somewhat related. I hope no offense was taken. 🙂

  8. Heather

    Yours was a most interesting comment. As you know, women aren’t even allowed to teach in some of the neoconservative churches. Your church would have been thrown out of the SBC for having a woman as a pastor.

    I believe that, in the majority of churches in which you see an adored pastor who is making bank on the flock, you will find that you are in a very, very conservative church which pushes authoritarian pastors and patriarchy. The patriarchy/hyper shepherd/leader thing breeds a pastor who is just below God on the hierarchy rung and the men attracted to this movement like it that way. Hey, you get free land and jets.

  9. Its sad that the one pastor you mentioned feels he isn’t up to standard due to no book, etc. It does show his human side, and in reality I’m sure there are plenty more ministers that don’t have book – than do.

    My children went to a church/school for a number of years. They had a group of pastors, and they all seemed to work together to make sure people were ministered to. At least one or more – and their leadership – would be in the community doing this, that or the other. You always saw them. The church also had plenty of affairs that they invited the community to – which were well attended and fun! I remember they got word from my children at school that my father was dying. I remember the head pastor calling just about 30 minute before he passed. He prayed with me over the phone when he called on my cell phone. At my father’s service people stopped in one by one to pay their respects. When I had a major operation they made sure my children had rides to school, and sent meals. You knew they paid attention to those within their school and church.

    Then you have other places of worship who are indeed way to disconnected from their community and their flock. It’s more like a corporation than community. They almost hire out or delegate out key services that can bring families and church together.

    Most of the time they are so disconnected families need to ask for help, instead of people within the fellowship knowing them close enough tor realize they need it. Nothing wrong with asking for help of course, and we all need to do that at times okay? That is NOT what I’m saying.

    When you get to big or to rock star you tend to lose the connection that was intended within the fellowship.

    That staff may feel they have a very busy life, but it is the right kind of busy? When they speak at functions to much, to concentrate on their books, tapes, etc? They are trying to keep that status for their church, more than serving their flock.

    They get the impression that they should demand their high salaries, and yet forget that pastors of smaller flocks work just as hard – and just as long of hours for much less.

    You realize the huge disconnect when your flock knows your family and yourself on a more personal basis, and not what you mention in the pulpit.

    When you go out in the community some pastors can stop and have conversations with people because they know him personally, while others are just waving HI because they waved hello first.

    One pastor knows his community, and the other only truly knows those well connected.

    There are both types out today. The bigger ones you hear more about due to their PR companies doing their job. lol!

    Sadly, they will never get the true respect the smaller more intimate congregations receive. The pastor feeling badly about no book deal? He missed the point completely. The authors may get admiration, but a pastor gets so much more. Its sad that some young pastors feel that pressure, because that isn’t their purpose.

    Their flock and their family are to be their top priority. They are they serving them well? They should be praised, and placed at the head of the table. IMO.

  10. Ed Young Jr. is SO full of himself; How the Hell can people stay in a “church” like this????

    This was posted on April 13th & 14th on his Official Twitter page:

    April 13th: Best way to tell the EXCELLENCE OF THE CHURCH…look @ their restrooms!

    April 14th: I’m so intense I have a Timeshare on Parris Island, SC

  11. I have to admit, when I first saw Lise’s comment about my post, I was a bit put off with this post, but it’s turned into a wonderful learning experience! We do not have any “mega churches” in our town and the two I have been to didn’t make me feel welcomed at all. It seemed as though it was all a show. That’s just how it felt to me!

    I know, all too well, that women haven’t been allowed in ministry in many places. I grew up in a religion that didn’t allow it and it took me time to get used to having a woman preaching. Now, I feel blessed to have her!

    I can’t imagine staying in a church where the pastor wasn’t truly connected to the members!

  12. Heather

    If you ever feel inspired, would you be willing to share with our readers your experience with a woman as pastor?

  13. Heather

    Lise is an awesome young woman who has taken on a sad situation in a previous church. She started doing so as a high school student. Trust me, she is on your side!

  14. Jessica,

    Ed Young Jr. is a perfect example of a pastor who expects to be served. Thanks for sharing a couple of his tweets. Here’s what he retweeted just after the timeshare remark.


    “pacehartfield RT @EricDykstra You can fake a lot of things but you can’t fake giving. Giving is a direct indication of whether yr heart truly loves God.
    10:27 AM Apr 14th via Twittelator
    Retweeted by EdYoung”

  15. Dee, I would be love to share with you! Honestly, I have a lot of BAD church stories as well, I think that’s why I get so defensive now that I have a great one!

  16. Yuck. Talk about it all being about how to serve the pastor instead of serving God! Sounds like he thinks he’s king or something.

  17. Elisabeth

    This thinking is infecting the neoCalvinist movement as well as many megachurch ministries. Keep your ears open for coed words such as the pastor being specially anointed, patriarchy, head shepherd, apostle, etc. They indicate a propensity to this kind of pastoral reign.

  18. Hannah

    You describe the type of pastor that few, into today’s high profile megas, have never had the privilege to attend. Thank you for such a wonderful description.

  19. I’m richer for the experience, but my pocket book is poorer. Of course I did have the best preacher for most of my life.

  20. “…Our Russian Orthodox priest always viited our home. He could be seen dancing the polka at the Polish festivals and kept a similar schedule to his Methodist counterpart…”

    I grew up in the Southeast corner of Wisconsin where you haven’t been to a wedding until you’ve been to a Polish wedding. At one such event attended in my youth, there were Lutherans, Catholics, Jews, and even a few clergymen. The food was fantastic! And horror of horrors, plenty of vodka and beer flowed too!. Anybody here like glumpke (stuffed cabbage)?

  21. Oh Muff

    I cook glumpke and pierogi.I have an awesome recipe for unstuffed cabbage that tastes authentic and is easy to make. I dance the polka. I never fully understood the drinking ban-I grew up in a Russian family. Even the priests drank. Ah well. When I was a young girl, one of my father’s patients paid him with homemade raspberry wine which my dad claimed was good for your blood.

  22. I just had to rant… When we were in San Antonio and attended an OPC for the better part of two years, perhaps more, my husband had been very ill. He went on FMLA twice in three years, and he was round about 40 years of age at the time. We lived 60 miles from our church, though this is not all that atypical in that area of Texas. It was not always easy to get to services, especially when my husband was ill. We were not all that long out of our spiritually abusive church, and we still have not officially joined a church since then. I don’t know if we ever will actually go through the process. Part of it involves not wanting to give tithe or a great deal of donations (if you’re not into tithing as something we New Covenant folks are required to do) to one place so that they can get interested in exploiting us financially. We also don’t want to be set up for intense spiritual abuse, and I don’t want my critics to be able to come and harass my pastor. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have an actual pastor or oversight online. Anyway…

    We attended church in Texas, and my husband was in a terrible car accident. We had no family there and no real friends to speak of, save for a couple who were recently set in as elder and wife at the church (where we did not join but did many things and things that were not always evident to everyone in the church). I was taught about keeping a heavenly reward, and you don’t go to church to broadcast that stuff for personal gain. I phoned that elder’s house from the ER and left a message with one of their teens, and I guess their parents either never got the message or it was not seen as significant. I called the pastor the next day. One of the days of his hospitalization, I went into the church before even going in to the hospital, just to have some human contact with someone caring and supportive. They knew everything about the situation.

    My husband was hospitalized only 10 minutes away from the church. No one called him. No one came to see him. He was discharged after several days, but he had about three months of surgeries and pain, I struggled to keep up with my job and with his care… About a month after the accident, and elder that we didn’t know well sent a notecard that said “get well” or something. When my husband was fully recovered, he did not want to go back to the church and felt abandoned. We were very generous. We cared for people and helped people there. But we were abandoned.

    A few years later, I was in bad, bad shape and went back to the church. They had a new pastor, and I went in to talk with him. I expressed how hurt we were and did not feel free to come back, but I didn’t really like unfinished business and wanted to make peace with my brethren — but I wanted to be heard and understood. I felt convicted that I needed to clear the air. (Keep in mind that I am a woman, someone who shows up at the door of the church and I was weeping and broken. When asked about where I went, I told this pastor about how I had not felt liberty to join any one place but visited several different congregations only. He said this was sin, and I said that i was there to repent and make things right.)

    I went to a Sunday morning service or two just after visiting his office. It was odd, but most people in the church walked by me like I was a total stranger. So did the pastor. A friend that I sat beside (who actually picked me up and took me to church that day) made sure that the pastor saw me that second week that I went back. The guy acted really strange when my neighbor pointed me out and said that he’d heard that I’d come by the church and that I’d met the pastor. He acted really weird. And he’d taken my phone number and promised to call but never did.

    I waited three months and then decided to write a letter, expressing that I’d been saddened that I’d fallen through the cracks, but I wondered also if I’d just been patted on the head and told to be warmed and filled.

    I received a letter back from that pastor. It said that I was in sin for not joining their church which was why no one came to see my husband in the hospital. I was told that we were sent a note card with one sentence written on it (for which I guess I was supposed to be grateful). I was told that the elders of a small congregation I might add said that we hardly ever came there and we weren’t a part of their church. (They sure could cash my bimonthly checks after payday however.) The letter recommended that we try two other churches, one of which was about 80 miles from our home. And along with my warning about being so sinful for not being a card-carrying member of their church, even while we attended there weekly, there was a mention that the pastor had already called these two churches that he’d recommended to tell them about our sin.

    We have not had a great many needs since starting at our current church in a different part of the country, and we did a couple of years of visiting churches before we reluctantly decided to attend our current one. I’m not happy there, but I don’t know how happy I will be anywhere. And I don’t know of what kind of support they’d be willing to offer if we found ourselves in need. I figure it can’t be worse that what I dealt with before.

    I don’t know about how much serving of the pastor I was expected to do at the OPC in San Antonio, but I know that we didn’t even warrant a phone call after a hospitalization after a car wreck and for the day I showed up on the doorstep of the church, weeping and repenting. I guess I was supposed to bleed, donate an organ, write a check, and then sign a membership form that day. But it turns out they didn’t want me anyway. (I think that they likely did me a favor and saved me the aggravation of pretense. I don’t want to join any club that would want to have me as a member!)

  23. It’s all so ridiculous. I can’t shake my head and roll my eyes enough.

    All this extreme “pastor” behavior described in the post, that video clip, and especially Cindy K’s comment… it’s like these “pastors” (as they refer to themselves) are either high having overdosed on some mind-altering church-leadership-drug, or else brainwashed having heard and recited church leadership mantras too many times — breathing each other’s oxygen-poor exhales in the process. To the point that they and theirs have lost the ability to think and reason objectively. It all seems very ingrown and inbred.

    These convoluted systems of expectations and requirements are….. riDIculous!! A cultural ball & chain. Totally unnecessary. A concoction of some overanalysis, lots of egotism, erroneous understanding of empowerment, a large helping of custom perpetuated for its own sake, and a multitude of non-scrutinizing minds. The product of it all is this patently goofy set of ideas.

    My favorite word at the moment is ridiculous. And it’s all such a reeeDIculous state of affairs for this thing called christianity.

    My skin is crawling. I feel like retching.

  24. (I”m sorry, but I DO want credit for my diatribe)

    It’s all so ridiculous. I can’t shake my head and roll my eyes enough.

    All this extreme “pastor” behavior described in the post, that video clip, and especially Cindy K’s comment… it’s like these “pastors” (as they refer to themselves) are either high having overdosed on some mind-altering church-leadership-drug, or else brainwashed having heard and recited church leadership mantras too many times — breathing each other’s oxygen-poor exhales in the process. To the point that they and theirs have lost the ability to think and reason objectively. It all seems very ingrown and inbred.

    These convoluted systems of expectations and requirements are….. riDIculous!! A cultural ball & chain. Totally unnecessary. A concoction of some overanalysis, lots of egotism, erroneous understanding of empowerment, a large helping of custom perpetuated for its own sake, and a multitude of non-scrutinizing minds. The product of it all is this patently goofy set of ideas.

    My favorite word at the moment is ridiculous. And it’s all such a reeeDIculous state of affairs for this thing called christianity.

    My skin is crawling. I feel like retching.

  25. cindy, I find it interesting that church was more than happy to take your money even though you were not what they considered a bonafide member.

  26. Cyindy

    I was out last evening and am on my way to church. I am so upset about your story. How could these people even pretend to have faith. I only wish I could have been there to bring you food and talk during your hard, hard times. Shame on the church.

  27. Many or let’s say 80%, in my opinion and I may be wrong, of the churches in America are fine and are serving Christ as he desires. Its that 20% that is ” Cult Lead, and Cult Fed”.

  28. When we lived in San Antonio, my wife and I visited an OPC church on the NW side of town, on the I-10 access road. We were dressed well, suit and tie, etc. We participated in congregational singing, stayed through the whole service, until the very end. When we were leaving, only one person greeted us, other than a quick, barely touching hand-shake by a pastor at the door, who was busy talking to the person in line behind us all the while.

    I have come to understand that OPC churches are like that. It is in their DNA. Unless they know that you are one of theirs, getting any attention is uphill. You are considered a sinner until you prove that you are one of them in terms of having an OPC background or converting to OPC. They are very, very conservative, hierarchical, patriarchal, etc., and believe that only OPC practices true Christianity. I have never experienced a colder church.

  29. Re. the OPC: I knew a number of people – back in the 1970s – who came from that background. (At L’Abri in Switzerland – Francis and Edith Schaeffer were very much part of the J. Gresham Machen school of thought when they were young.) So… the folks I met kind of represented what could be called the “liberal” end of OPC thinking, and while they were all very nice and friendly, they were, in a lot of ways, off in their own world. (I don’t mean that unkindly; it’s just how things were.) There was genuine surprise over things like people not being familiar with their hymnals, for example. (I think I found somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 or 4 hymns that I knew, and – coming from a Lutheran background – I’d done a lot of hymn-singing, as a child and as a young adult, after my conversion.)

    I didn’t really understand what was going on there until I read Frank Schaeffer’s memoir Crazy for God and his novels – Portofino and Saving Grandma especially. His descriptions of L’Abri made me feel exonerated – again, not to slam anyone, but while I was there, I noticed a lot of things that I thought were rather odd (not theologically, but re. the people there and the way the place was run), but when I talked to others about them, people sort of brushed me off, so… I stopped talking.

    At any rate, Frank talks a lot about the whole OPC thing from the perspective of growing up in it as an MK. I’d highly recommend Crazy for God. I think he’s in the vanguard of a wave of writers who’ve grown up in extreme fundamentalist/evangelical/charismatic denominations and groups. If anything, he is much more merciful about it than he could be… and funny, too. (Affectionately so.)

    apologies for the semi-threadjack, but maybe this will help put some other folks’ experiences in perspective… (Though I have never attended an OPC church – or one with OPC leanings – here in the States.)

  30. @ Muff and Dee: I hear you on the differences in culture – Lutherans aren’t generally teetotallers (at least, that’s true of German Lutherans in the Mid-Atlantic states). Dry wedding receptions were kind of a shock to me – in fact, most things about evangelical culture are very, very different than the way i grew up.

    The bit about food is making me hungry, as I spent quite a few years in NW PA, an area where there are people from all over Central and Eastern Europe, and many different names for the same (or similar) dishes. Pierogies or sarma or whatever: yum! And then there’s all the Italian food!

  31. Numo,

    I was also raised in a Missouri Synod Lutheran Chruch….I clearly remember plenty of schnapps, wine and beer, pirogies, polka dancing and marathon pinochle sessions!

  32. Lydia

    I did not understand the distinction. I did some reading last night. It seems they are the IFB of the Presbyterian set.

  33. Dee,

    off topic, but I have my first Seder to attend tomorrow….this should prove to be an interesting experience.

  34. FBC Jax Watchdog > Sheri Klouda’s Response to Patterson and Brunson

    While I do not know Pastor Brunson personally, and I have never met the man, even though I taught junior high Sunday School for five years, he or anyone else (a deacon, an administrator, somebody who would care?) from FBD never advised me or discussed what happened to me, or counseled me as to what to do. No one in my own church came forward once when my husband was ill, or expressed any concern about out situation at all apart from a few of the adults who taught junior high.

  35. @ Karlton: no MO Synod people around here, just ELCA (formerly LCA). My mom and her parents (and likely other older people) regarded the MO Synod with great suspicion, though I’ve never been able to figure out why that was so.

    There are a fair number of MO Synod churches in NW PA (where I had all the good food!), though, and probably in the Pittsburgh area as well. But then, NW PA is, in many ways, almost Midwestern. (Culturally, that is.)

    I guess the folks in this area (of my parents’ generation) were/are more into bridge than pinochle, although that comes from my childhood observations and is probably *not* a good indicator of how things really were (or are, come to that).

    Wedding receptions in NW PA usually seemed to feature an open bar, or, at very least, beer, wine and maybe a limited selection of hard liquor.

  36. Back to the main topic: my understanding of the word “pastor” was always that the person who had that title (any minister in charge of a congregation, really) was/is supposed to be caring for the people in the congregation and serving them – not lording it over them.

    I really wish the new generation of so-called “pastors” would quit using that title, though I’d also venture to guess that most of them aren’t ordained ministers and so have taken on this title to kind of cover the fact that they aren’t. (In some circles, at least. ;)) Not that ordination in and of itself is any guarantee of someone being good at pastoral work, but I think you guys get my drift…

  37. Dee, numo, et.al. ,

    I can’t understand the almost Islamic phobia against alcoholic beverages of any kind in many fundamentalist sects. One such pastor/teacher from a certain fundamentalist sect even claimed through a very convoluted exegetical study of Koine Greek, that Yeshua only changed the water at Cana into unfermented grape juice, the implication of course being that the Lord frowns on any type of alcohol consumption.

    Numo, when I was a little kid growing up Lutheran, pastor Heupel (pronounced ‘hoy’-pell) brewed his own beer in his basement. Nobody batted an eyelash.

  38. Muff/Numo/Arce

    I have no trouble with the sue of alcoholic beverages having grown up in a culture where it is normative.

    Interestingly, for 3 years, during college, I attended a MO. Synod Lutheran church in upstate NY. There wasn’t the hint of legalism. The pastor also had the occ. beer. I wonder if legalism is seen less in northern climes. Frankly, there are so few people who profess a deep faith that Christians were glad to be around other Christians and didn’t spend time worrying over baptism methods or eschatological preferences.

    However, the 20/20 story took place in NH so it sort of disproves my point. However, do you think that location of churches matter in the development of “rules?” The north has a large immigrant population (my family on Dad’s side were Russian immigrants). Immigrants have little use for made up rules. They are trying to survive. My grandparents worked in a textile factor and leather tanning factory.

    Muff, Dan Wallace who is a professor at DTS and the Indiana Jones of manuscripts wrote a paper which definitively proves that Jesus did create fermented wine. So, I don’t get it either. The only thing I can imagine is that one too many Baptists had an alcoholic relative and are fearful of it. Funny thing, they have no trouble with serving high caloric food at gatherings and there are far more fat Baptists than alcoholic Baptists so I guess I don’t get it.

    You all should have fun next week when, I, your intrepid blog queen, takes on the issue of differentiating between fundamentalism and evangelicalism. I expect fireworks!

  39. Yes, and the seder meal, with its rounds of wine, became the last supper. Ever wonder why the disciples could not keep awake in Gethsemane? Perhaps it was all the wine they had to drink during the supper.

    You squeeze grapes, put the juice into a container, and a week later you have wine. The yeast is on the grape skins. Of course, it could have been different 2000 years ago and what we have now is the result of evolution!! ;o)

  40. Arce/Karl

    I have a friend who does a seder every couple of years. He uses it as an opportunity to show symbolism of the Christian faith as well as the Jewish faith. he invites folks from both backgrounds. And yes, he does serve the demon alcohol.

    Funny story- the first time I attended a seder , I saw what looked to be a piece of a parsnip on my plate. So, when it came time to remember the tears of bitterness, I took a chomp. It was fresh horseradish. Well, I had airway constriction and almost passed out. They poured wine down my throat to revive me. Unfortunately, it is recounted to many a friend every year around this time. I may be glamorous but I am occasionally a bit of a ditz!

  41. Thy Peace

    Do you ever get the feeling that there is a playbook out there which tells these guys what to do and say? It is getting a bit too predictable. I prefer my conflicts to be edgy. Makes me think. I am beginning to think that these guys have no imagination.

  42. Lydia

    I am trying to think up some funny questions for the blog next week. It goes something like this. You know you are fundamentalist when…. You know you are evangelical when….. I want to be the Jeff Foxworthy (You Know You are a Redneck When….) of the evangelical set.

  43. Dee,

    lol, I’ll try to avoid a similar fate! It is at a conservative Synagogue, so should provide a little more spice, depending on the conversation.

  44. Dee,

    You might be an evangelical if…

    You believe that hell is going to be populated by Catholics (except for Mel Gibson), the Clintons, Mormons (with a special dispensation for Glen Beck), the staff of New York Times (all of them), Rosie Odonnell, all of the people from the East coast and West coast (with a special hot spot for Hollywood), Brian McLaren, and all Liberals.

    You think Kirk Cameron should get the academy award for best actor in Fire Proof.

    You think homoousios is a congressional bill for same-sex marriage.

    You have submitted to your wife and feel guilty about it.

    You don’t really have any idea what “Evangelical” means.

    You have no doubt that the best non-biblical book ever published is Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life”

    You consider studying for sermons somehing that liberals do instead of soul winning.

    You quote John Gill as supporting your position against Calvinism.

    You think “expositional” is someone who doesn’t take a position on anything.

    You’re not sure what TULIP stands for, but you know you’re against it.

    And, not to be outdone, you might be a Calvinist if…

    When your daughter was born you and your wife had the biggest argument of your marriage and for some reason she just wouldn’t go for the name “Augustina”.

    If someone were to write a book entitled, “The Axis of Evil: Pelagius, Arminius, and Finney”, you would spare no expense in order to obtain an advance copy.

  45. Karl!
    You never cease to amaze me.Did you make these up or did you find them somewhere? I would love to use them next week. I particularly liked the homoousios one.

  46. I’d have trouble calling the OPC the IFB of the presbyterian set. I’d leave that for the “microdenominations” like the Westminster Presbyterian Church that put homeschooling and courtship up there with the Gospel…oh so sad.

    I will say I find it interesting that our fellow believers across the pond in Europe also find Christian celebrity culture in America disturbing.

  47. We have our own example of what you wrote about in Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte.

    He is constantly harping about haters and how his staff has to “have his back”. It’s all about Steven all of the time. Even his wife has a blog where she keeps up the drivel on ensuring that Steven stays on his pedestal.

    Sadly, this is Charlotte where people have a history of being duped by religious charlatans.

  48. Karen

    We plan to get around to Furtick. Perhaps we can pay a visit. We are nearby in the Piedmont.

  49. Hey Deb

    Time for a road trip, maybe? We can visit IKEA and get swedish meatballs at the cafeteria after we take in the Elevation performance-darn I always forget that its a church. My bad.

  50. You won’t lack for material on Steven!

    He and his crew are gearing up for 3-D Easter. His wife’s blog is even calling out the opposition and how “they” have it out for them; it’s her third year in a row of doing this. All to ensure that attendance is over the top for Easter…

  51. This stuff about a pastor needing an armor bearer is absolutely wrong.My family attended a church about 16 -17 years ago where the pastor had armor bearers and everything revolved around him and his family at first but after awhile it ended up being all about him. The worship leader created a song to honor him as he walked in the sanctuary,the elders/ministers purcahsed an expensive car for him and he had pictures taken of himself and sold them to the congregation to make money.The more $ you gave the bigger the picture of him you would get.You had to address him as “Your Grace” and kiss his ring.It’s one of the worst things we have seen in our walk as christians and would advise anyone as someone who has been there,to run not walk out that front door of the church if this kind of stuff is going on.You can believe if this kind of crap is going on out there in front for all to see,there is more crap going on under the surface.

  52. Paul

    We will be talking about Furtick in the near future. I am planning a road trip to his church. I will need to hold my nose but I want to see it for myself.

  53. Ed Young Jr. has also called Christians who question his lifestyle “Haters”.

    It makes me wonder if he really is not a closet Athiest. (my spelling is bad.)

    I’m hoping he eventually goes the Joel Osteen ( He denied the Lord on Larry King Live back in 2005) route and denies the Lord in front of his entire Congregation.

    Maybe that will WAKE UP the people at Fellowship. I seriously don’t know any other tactic that would work.

    God knows though.

  54. Jessica,

    Well, I should have known… Look who’s hangin’ togetha… it a whole nutha level…


    C3 Global and Steven Furtick Join Forces! (12/9/10)

    Ed Young Jr. says:

    “I’m honored to announce that C3 Global is joining forces with Steven and Holly Furtick of Elevation Church! Steven is undeniably one of the most dynamic leaders in the world today. And together, they will be leading and contributing to many of our conferences and webinars.”

    Furtick’s video was posted on YouTube on March 1, 2011.

  55. I atten Elevation in Charlotte and Furtick is a great preacher. I have been to many of the “seeker” friendly churches and most are very surfacy perfomances. As someone who has spent my whole life in the church and as someone why as been very involved in missions and ministry I find Elevation to be breath of fresh air….You can post all your negatives but why dont you come sit through a service. He is teaching from the bible and makes no bones about it…..Yes they use unorthodox ways to get the message out but the message is getting out and lives are changing…I was a promoter of christian music back in the 80’s and can remember when the churches were my biggest foes because all that crazy “jesus rock” music was bad…..I thought we were all on the same team trying to win lost souls….seems like this is still going on today…churches and church people tearing each other down instead of lifting up

  56. Walt said:
    “I thought we were all on the same team trying to win lost souls….seems like this is still going on today…churches and church people tearing each other down instead of lifting up”


    The first time I ever saw or heard your pastor was on his infamous “Hey Haters” video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCW9-MglCsw

    I find it absolutely incredible that this is how your pastor chose to represent himself to the internet world via YouTube. How pathetic!!!

  57. Walt

    First, let me tell you that I am planning on visiting your church.

    Secondly, the old argument-we should be out there saving souls instead of confronting the church is usually used by people who know that there are problems in a particular church and want the critics to go away.

    We can still save souls and address issues in the church at the same time.And that video is problematic-you know it and so do many others. It’s just by admitting such a thing, you will be forced to deal with some difficult issues and that isn’t a lot of fun.

  58. Deb
    And better yet, what shall we wear. We do not want to dress in an ostentatious manner that might clash with our host’s choice of flashy diamonds, would we? I say simple, yet elegant.