Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry -- By: Richard L. Mayhue
MSJ 6:1 (Spr 95) p. 39
Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry1
Senior Vice President and Dean
Professor of Pastoral Ministries
Current unbiblical changes beginning to overtake the church could injuriously mark the 21st century church if they continue unchecked. A growing number of respected evangelicals believe that the contemporary redirection of the church toward being less biblical and more acceptable to society will ultimately lead to a Christ-condemned church. However, by using Scripture to answer the questions “What is a pastor to be and do?” and “How can contemporary ministry be shaped by biblical mandates?”, the church can be revived and obediently realign herself with God’s revealed purposes for the bride of Christ. In this manner, it is possible to achieve a biblically balanced, complementing relationship between understanding God’s will for the church, engaging in relevant pastoral ministry, and preparing a new generation of pastors for ministry as outlined by God’s Word.
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“Crossroads.” “Transition.” “Crisis.” “Uncertainty.” “Restlessness.” These unsettling words express the pessimistic perception voiced by many evangelicals regarding the immediate state of the church and pastoral ministry. Few would disagree that a call for redirection has come to the evangelical church as the twenty-first century rapidly approaches. However, there is no current consensus on which route the church should take to get back on track.
Consider, for example, John Seel’s 1992 survey of twenty-five prominent evangelical leaders.2 The leaders expressed their
MSJ 6:1 (Spr 95) p. 40
less-than-optimistic views on the general state of American evangelicalism at the end of the twentieth century. Eight dominant themes emerged from their responses:
1. Uncertain identity—A widespread confusion over what defines an evangelical.
2. Institutional disenchantment—A perceived ministry ineffectiveness and irrelevance.
3. Lack of leadership—A lament over the paucity of leadership in the church.
4. Pessimistic about the future—A belief that the future of evangelicalism hangs in the balance.
5. Growth up, impact down—A confusing paradox without immediate clear explanations.
6. Cultural isolation—A complete arrival of the post-Christian era.
7. Political and methodological response provides the solution—A drift toward unbi...
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