Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hire Hitler!

With this being the 60th anniversary year of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s execution, Union University held a special chapel panel today to discuss and contemplate Bonhoeffer’s life and legacy. It was a great chapel and I assume the audio will soon be available from Union's Audio Webpage .

One thing that stood out to me concerning pastoral ministry occurred when one speaker described Adolf Hitler’s charisma, how he captivated crowds with his mesmerizing speeches and how efficient he was with government. I began to think of the things most often listed as key requirements that people have for their pastor. Here is a list of things that show up most often in such discussions:
- Great public speaker
- Makes us feel better
- Charisma, powerful persona
- Great leadership skills- meaning he can run an efficient organization
- Vision for where we are going
- Ability to attract new members, especially young people
- Patriotic

If these are the characteristics we want, then Hire Hitler! Hitler was all of these things! He excelled in each of these categories as historians agree. Being a ‘leader’ is all the rage, and Hitler’s typical title, “Führer,” simply means “Leader.” Is not something drastically wrong when such a man fulfills the typical expectations of a pastor! How desperately we need to return to the Scriptures to gain the right perspective of the pastorate! In fact not one of these characteristics is a biblical requirement for the pastorate. They are more akin to the ideas of Paul’s opponents in 2 Corinthians than anything else.


Mark said...

This makes me remember a previous church where the pastor search committee actually required the potential applicant pastor to be above 6'0" tall...or the resume was passed over. Thank you for speaking to this rampant problem within our denomination.

Ray Van Neste said...

Amazing. That's actually one I've never heard of. Did they go on to complain that he was over the heads of many of the poeple?
With this qualification it is highly unlikely that Paul or Jesus would have qualified.

the Marshall's said...

Oh...Ray! couldn't resist the "over the heads" comment, could you? wouldn't it have been sad if our church here had had that 6 ft. stipulation? William and I both are shorties.
I'm enjoying your articles.
Tell your sweet wife I said hello. Did you guys receive the pictures I mailed a while back?

Pastor Luke said...

Dr. Van Este

This is Luke Snowden. I happened to stumble upon your blog page as I was looking around the site after I finished blogging on my page. I appreciate your a pastor they are both inspiring and challenging! Blessings to you in Christ,

Luke Snowden

P.S. my blogsite is

Adam Winters said...

To quote 2 Cor. 3:4-5-
"Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God."
Thus, Paul answers his question in 2:16, "And who is adequate for these things."

And I appreciate the comment mark made. Us 5'8 guys with pastoral aspirations need all the love we can get.

Brett said...

Regarding his speaking ability...he would start soft and slow and build his way up to a fevered pitch of passion, taking the crowd with him and inciting them to action...very much in the revivalistic tradition of American preachers of the past (and present?).

You make an excellent observation. How many search committees look for men who are hard after God for personal holiness, corporate revival, and biblical integrity? Sadly, I'm afraid too many are asking consciously or subconsciously, "Are they an attractive family? Does he smile all the time? How does he make me feel?"

Cavman said...

Sadly, 'leadership' is all the craze. That is but one part of shepherding. With the prevelance of the mega-church, where pastoral staff can specialize, we have exalted this task above the rest.

In a small church, pastors have to do all of them.

Great book is Glenn Daman's Shepherding the Small Church.