Vol 2 No. 6 Pressures on Pastors

I would like to spend just a little time reviewing some recent news and telling you about some news heading your way in the next few weeks.

I begin with thanking Shelby Gregg, Andrew Miller, and Steve Fisher for the excellent work they do in bringing our video clips on the web. While I am at the thank-yous I would also like to thank Audrey Davies, the assistant to CBM General Secretary Gary Nelson, who did much of the organizing of the Area and Executive Ministers at the Crief Centre in Ontario in the week of January 23rd. As a Union I would like to thank the Union President Sam Chaise from Olivet in New Westminster and the CBM President Cal Malena from Emmanuel in Saskatoon for their outstanding leadership (Sam chaired and Cal gave background) to the Union and CBM joint discussions in Toronto around partnership. We talked (the Union side of the equation included Sam Chaise, Area Ministers Paul Pearce, Sam Breakey, and Ken Thiessen, Director of the BUDF Jack Borchert [Dave Holten excused himself because of year end and Brian Stelck was teaching] and John Prociuk our Director of Ministries).  There were further discussions held on relationships, communications, partnerships began discussions on philosophy of ministry, Christology, evangelism and partnership agreements. We haven’t put some those thoughts  together but I am deeply grateful to Gary, Sam and Cal for their commitment to partnering our Baptist praxis, worship, witness and social concerns across this great country and around the globe.

January 23rd had the aforementioned meeting and that evening (after a raucous evening of election night results and commentary from the assembled experts)… it re-assured me that the world is a safer place because Baptists believe in separation of church and state.

The Crief Centre gathering of Area and Executive Ministers is becoming an annual event which is financed and organized in the main by CBM. The time seeks to give denominational staff a larger vision and passion for ministry both at home and globally and it also seeks to open up a conversation and prayer amongst some of our national leaders. Gary and I both led devotionals and Harry Gardner from Atlantic Canada led the communion. Brian Winslade, the General Secretary of New Zealand Baptists (approximately 250 churches and at 50,000 the largest attending Protestant denomination in that country) led us through some very helpful sessions.

I attach his list of “difficulties and challenges” for ministry in the new millennium. The observations and comments are pertinent to both lay and clergy, any type of “set aside” leadership in a church. Some of the points (very few) are indigenous only to New Zealand, most are of broad and very practical and current interest. It might be helpful to have Brian at one of our assemblies or Banff conferences. I trust you find the attached material encourages each of us to think about leadership in today’s church. To plan, educate, encourage, and pray for all who are called to lead in Christ’s church and in the Baptist Union of Western Canada.



In Christ

Jeremy Bell



Differences and Peculiar Difficulties for Pastoral Ministry in the New Millennium

Brian Winslade – Auckland, New Zealand

National Executive Staff Summit January 23-25, 2006


Differences –


  1. Reality
    1. in the local church context we are critiqued by amateurs, in denominational work…
    2. Pastoral ministry is no longer considered a career; is that bad?
    3. The call of God in pastoral ministry is not considered a higher calling than a calling to act Christianly as a plumber.
    4. Fewer will reach retirement in pastoral ministry.


Difficulties –


  1. Impact of shift to post modern world view.
    1. We are victims of rapid deconstruction.
    2. Truth is what is relevant. Churches are no longer the center of community life.
    3. The church is considered irrelevant.


  1. Being a pastor is no longer a respected profession in society.
    1. The impact of moral failure.


  1. The complexities of family life put more pressure on pastors.
    1. Blended families… easy out in relationships… New understanding of term ‘family.’


  1. Consumerism determines church affiliation.
    1. Once one has left a church once it is easier to move on.
    2. Churches are chosen according to options provided, and environment or teaching.


  1. Increased pressure on middle sized church.
    1. A critical mass is required to provide a ministry option before another church does.
    2. Prediction – large churches and small niche churches will thrive; middle ones will not. High tech high energy is the requirement.


  1. Sexual promiscuity.
    1. Availability of pornography becomes an impediment to spiritual life.
    2. We change the way we think to match the way we behave.


  1. The traditional pay scale of ministers.
    1. The level of salary does not necessarily attract the right people. It is not biblical to keep a pastor poor – double honor. Manses must be kept up.


  1. Negative culture of congregational church government.


  1. Impact of TV evangelists.
    1. Pressure to perform or fighting negative image.
    2. “Cheap church” – the electronic church has no accountability.


  1. Deconstruction of church by emerging church gurus.
    1. While there are many critical points made some writers are fueled by personal history and anger.
    2. Leith Anderson – we know which mushrooms are poison by seeing the results.


  1. The church-less faith movement.
    1. Belonging to an organized church is optional.
    2. Barna says 30,000,000 in US. It is not me and Jesus; it is we and Jesus.


  1. Vulnerability of the pastoral profession.
    1. We let a pastor go with the blood money of a severance.
    2. Authority is related to competence not profession.
    3. There is disagreement on what it means to be called of God.
    4. God calls us to ministry; the church calls us to place.


  1. Ageism.
    1. Vacant churches all want someone who is 30 with 25 years of experience and a solid marriage.
    2. Mentorees are looking for non-available or qualified mentors.
    3. There is a tendency to hold on to leadership too long. We need to be re-blooding leadership. Brian’s church looks first to those under 35 but not exclusively.
    4. Barnabus is the ‘patron saint’ of a denominational leader.


  1. Discouragement through over exposure to mega churches.
    1. Mentoring churches need to be closer in size.


  1. Church attendance is discretionary.
    1. New babies, pressure of six day week, sports etc.
    2. Churches today have 2/3 attendance on any Sunday.


  1. The clash of musicology and worship.
    1. Seeker friendly, tactile, traditional variables etc.


  1. Charismatic disillusionment.
    1. At the end of a movement the pastor gets blamed.


  1. The uncomfortable realization that the church we serve bears little resemblance to the church Jesus started. There is a movement to sacrificial living/giving, house church, etc.


  1. Expectation that the pastor does it all.
    1. ‘Pastoral care’ is non-biblical. It is a body activity.
    2. When people are in intentional small groups pastoral care is not an issue.


  1. We are at the cusp of a Second Reformation.
    1. The first was theological the second appears to be relational – outreach and support oriented.