Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pastors or Missionaries???

This question continues to haunt me as I evaluate Campus Crusade. Although we are a missions organization by name, in function, particularly in the campus ministry, I have seen that many teams function out of the pastoral. By pastoral, I mean a few things...

  • That teaching/speaking is the most valuable/rewarded gift.
  • That we tend to focus on the care of believers more than the expansion of the kingdom through focusing on lost students.
  • That we tend to value and invest in the maintenance of the present, rather than focusing on realizing the future. We tend to draw managers rather than leaders in our organization.
I recently directed a conference for Campus Crusade. In reading the feedback and evaluation of the staff members, the following themes stood out:
  • It seemed that most staff desired more high power speakers (Pastoral, speaking, teaching)
  • It seemed that staff desired more power (roles, responsibilities) and control in the conference (ministry managers), at the cost of empowering the student attendees at the conference
  • New ideas that were tried were highly criticized. (Value the present, see change and the future as a negative thing)
I'm not saying that I led the conference perfectly and the staff got it wrong. I am saying that we have an entrenched culture that is highly committed to maintaining what is and scared and even threatened by new possibilities. 

I believe this fear of change and desire to hoard power will significantly decrease our effectiveness on campus in the next 10 years. New strategies and ideas are needed to penetrate the hearts and minds of today's college students with the Gospel. A new and more flexible organizational structure is needed to empower those on the field to try and lead from new places. Without some significant 'dethroning' of traditions and past victories, our organization may be like the cute grandpa, whose pants are slightly falling off, unaware of the crumbs still on his face from lunch. 

Let's actually invest the majority of our time investing in missional things: evangelism, raising up leaders, not counseling followers, planting and growing movements on new parts of campus, gathering money and resources that will transform the campus and surrounding community. 


DJ said...

Alisha and I have sensed the same reluctance to embrace (or try) change for the sake of reaching more students for Jesus as we have been critical of things like the 4-Laws and other "sacred" Crusade things. We have thrown around the idea that, especially if we are an evangelistic organization, then if we don't change our methods to fit the times we will soon die out.

I fear the problems we have with change are not primarily with a "pastor" heart, but lacking the heart of the gospel which always must have a missionary aspect. Pastors that don't preach this missionary reality as simple what it means to be Christian are just as much lacking and unbiblical. Groups like Acts 29 and others in the emerging stream are regaining the missional call of every believer.

And as long as we don't make that primary, and as you say, we manage, then we are in trouble. Just like churches that manage are in trouble, as is obvious with tons of groups that look more like the 1960's than 2000's.

Brian said...

Great point DJ. Even today I talked with a pastor that longs to see his church transformed missionally.

I don't mean to slam pastors; I just mean that we should not be a ministry that primarily shepherds like a pastor, but mobilizes (evangelizes non-believers and develops believers into leaders) students. I think too often we draw students who want to be cared for rather than mobilized for the bigger picture (The Great Commission).