Jump directly to the Content

The Ministry’s Gordian Knot

Alexander the Great slashed through his Gordian knot; pastors don't have that option. To lead, the pastor must serv. How does he confront this paradox?

During the French Revolution, a general looked over his balcony at a river of people rushing through the streets toward the Bastille. Spinning on his heel he shouted to his aide, "Quick. My tunic and my sword. I am their leader and I must follow them."

A pastor is often in a similar situation as he confronts the question, "When do I lead and when do I follow?" If the church were organized as a disciplined army marching in lockstep toward a single objective, there would be no conflict. Decisions about mission, goals, strategies, and tactics would be made in the pastor-general's staff room. Every recruit would learn the two rules of military decision-making: The pastor-general is always right. And, if in doubt, obey the first rule.

Despite the vigor with which we sing "Onward, Christian Soldiers," a congregation is not an army. It can better be compared to a university faculty or a hospital staff. They are "organized anarchies." Some semblance of corporate structure is necessary to help them ...

April
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Pastoral Care in Paradise
Pastoral Care in Paradise
From the Magazine
What Kind of Man Is This?
What Kind of Man Is This?
We’ve got little information on Jesus’ appearance and personality. But that’s the way God designed it.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close