Balaam or Peter?

Yesterday’s post got me to thinking about pastors and churches seeking pastors. Considering I’m looking for a ministry opportunity, this line of thinking is not unique or unusual.

As I look through the usual websites, which I posted here, I find that most churches or search committees are looking for one of two types of pastors: Balaam or Peter.

Balaam was the prophet in Numbers 22 who was essentially a prophet for hire. If you were in a position to pay the market price, he was willing to bless or curse whomever you requested. He prostituted his gifts and calling until God chose to speak through the very donkey that Balaam was riding to continue this pattern.

Churches searching for a Balaam often do so with good intentions responding to poor or inadequate leadership of the past, and unfortunately the result is weak leadership (if leadership at all) because the pastor is merely a “hired hand.” This is not the portrait of pastoral leadership that you’ll find in Scripture.

I would contend that the Biblical mandate for a pastor is to serve as a Peter, who was always named first among the apostles, was commissioned by Jesus himself, and led as the first among equals. When a spokesperson was required, he took his stand. His leadership was not infallible, in fact he often made mistakes. But his heart was pure, his passion was contagious, and his love for the risen Christ was unwaivering even to his death on his own cross.

Don’t ask who you can control. Ask who you would follow. That’s the sort of pastor you should be seeking.

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