Pastor’s Word: “Form or Content? Position or Ministry?” | 外表或内涵?职位或事奉?

Completing another Master’s Degree recently, our son Robert began his new full-time ministry at 1st Chinese Baptist Church in Seattle. While together recently, he shared of the difference between the position of a pastor(title) versus being a pastor(experience). It was a joy to hear of his spiritual growth as he revealed his understanding of such a simple but important difference in thinking. He showed that he was a developing practitioner and not limited to positional thinking for serving the Lord. Indeed, it is not our position that God cares about but our hearts of service as we make ourselves available to Him. The “cap” that Robert now wears says that he is a pastor, by position, but he is only now learning that the “cap” is not as important as being, by function/heart, a pastor toward others.

Missiologists and national coworkers have struggled in China for years over the importance of Pastoral Ordination (position). Seeing overseas models, the Chinese Church is tempted to take the stance that Ordination is valuable to their church’s ministry. Yet, with the growth of Chinese churches being so rapid, many understand Ordination as a hindrance to that movement of church growth as it results in many well-meaning churches slowing their outreach for fear of not having someone to “wear the hat of their Ordained Pastor” when they have new churches started! Ordination does not make a pastor. This discussion continues on even as the lost of China need to be reached with the Gospel.

Whether it be doctoral degrees, masters degrees, Ordination or Licensing, or other positions created by man, may we all remember that God wants us all to wear the “cap” that says, “I am a Jesus follower, how may I help you?”

________________________________________

 

我们儿子伯恩最近完成他另一个硕士学位,现在他在西雅图第一华人浸信会全时间服事。最近我们在一起的时候,他和我分享牧师职位(职衔)和当一个牧师经验)的不同。听到他清楚分析这简单,又有重要区别的概念,我极为欣喜。他表示在侍奉主的时候,他不愿做一个只局限于职称的牧者,而要做一个使教会进步的实践者。事实上,在我们服事时,上帝不是关心我们的职位,而是我们服事的心。伯恩现在已经戴着牧者的头衔,但是他明白头衔不比一个牧者对他人的关心和任务更重要。

传教学家和中国同工为了牧师(职位)的按牧这件事挣扎多年。看到海外教会的例子,中国教会也试图让按牧礼在教会里成为重要的大事。但是随着中国教会的快速成长,很多人发现按牧礼变成了一个阻止教会成长的障碍。即便是原来很好的教会,因为害怕没有戴着牧师头衔的人可以牧养他们的教会,导致他们不敢做外展和传福音的工作。可是我们要知道,按牧礼不能制造出一个牧师。在中国还有如此多失丧的灵魂需要福音时,我们没有把精力放在传扬福音,却还在讨论头衔的话题。

不论是博士学位、硕士学位、按牧、有/无执照,或其它世人所创立的职位,让我们都记得,耶稣要我们所有人戴的头衔是:「我是耶稣的追随者,我可以怎么帮助你?」