Less Monologue More Dialog

A healthy and working relationship between a pastor and the congregation is reciprocal. The pastor is willing to pastor the people, and the people are willing to be pastored by this pastor. It doesn't matter if a person is filling the position and fulfilling the job-description of the pastor. If I don't respect this person as my pastor, he or she will not be my pastor, no matter what the labels are. And if the pastor is unwilling to pastor me, it doesn't matter how agreeable I am in the relationship, I won't get pastored. It is necessarily a reciprocal relationship if it is going to work.

The agreement isn't just that the pastor and the people will agree that the pastor will fulfill his or her duties and the member will fulfill his or hers. The agreement certainly must not mean that the pastor holds the keys to knowledge and spiritual wisdom and will dispense them, and the member holds none but will receive them. It certainly doesn't mean that the pastor has the authority and power and the member has none. It can't mean that the pastor only teaches and the members only learn. Such authoritative structures, even though they might be popular and have the appearance of wisdom, they are ineffective in changing anyone.

The agreement goes deeper: we agree that we will serve one another, bear one another, and even love one another. It also means that both parties agree to journey together, to walk together in their search, to explore and discover together. This will call for more humility and the willingness to relinquish power and authority on the part of pastors and more confidence and self-direction on the part of members. And, of course, this will necessarily lead to less monologue and more dialog.

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