Governance: The Prolonged Adolescence of the Free Church Minister

Opinions expressed here are my own, not those of the church I serve, or any other person. 


   There just is not much accountability, until all of a sudden there is total accountability and heads roll.

   This is the consequence of prolonged adolescence. It is one of the curses of the Free Church tradition of ministers. 

   A minister (I do not say pastor, I did not say male) should be a person with a vocation, a sacred calling. The minister should face his/her responsibility to answer this call, to make a commitment to holiness and to train/prepare for effective service.

   A church that calls a minister should do an extensive prayer campaign, not an oddball church survey put together by some pseudo-corporate bureaucrat in the 1970's. How old was Moses when he was pressed into service? Abraham? Granted, others looked better in a three piece robe and gown but God found a use for these fellows.

   Age is no guarantee of excellence. Teachable young people can learn the necessary work ethic, values and humility that will make them effective workers. These are learned behaviors.

   Drama is fun to watch but it is not fun for a church to participate in with its ministerial staff. The palace intrigues that pass for dues paying, as a generation that expects to be treated as equals (read superiors) before ever proving effectiveness is a disaster for any organization.

   Sadly, some who hang around the work forever never seem to get much beyond the Judas Passion. Iscariot was usually listed last, until he was not listed at all. He had passion, zeal and energy. His betrayal at the end had a lot of little symptoms along the way; jealousy, envy, gossip, greed. 

   Associations and conventions (and Bible colleges and seminaries) lack appropriate equipment to police the ministerial population. Ministers do not do much to police themselves. Frankly, we need to do more. 

   I propose a Ministerial Guild to discover the called, create good learning experiences and mentoring in actual ministerial work. Colleges and seminaries are learning and research institutions. They teach to an academic standard and that is priceless. After securing three degrees, a minister then finds he/she now has to actually do something and may not have a clue.

   Simply put, the average age of a minister these days is about 55. Some denominational groups are in danger of disappearing by the year 2025 as a result. Long hours, relatively lower pay and absolutely zero standing make the ministry a place for two kinds of people; the called, who will not go away until death and the Iscariots, who need a really good background check, first, and a tour to the door.

   We can do better.


2 thoughts on “Governance: The Prolonged Adolescence of the Free Church Minister”

  1. I’m not sure where even to begin. The last conversation I was part of about it was less than invigorating. I guess it could start with an accountability group.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.