Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Carl Trueman on Oversight of Souls

If you are not aware of Carl Trueman’s writings you ought to be. His latest essay in Themelios is a summary of what he says to students wanting to pursue a PhD. Along the way in the argument, though, Trueman makes a key point about the importance of church membership and the personal involvement of pastors in the lives of their members. In this Trueman echoes one of key concerns of this blog and lands on the same conclusion I do regarding church size. Here is the quote:

Second, church involvement brings with it a natural accountability at a very practical level. Here I guess I show my strong preference for smaller churches. I cannot prove from Scripture that a church should never consist of more than three hundred or so people, but I would argue that a church which is so big that the pastor who preaches cannot know every member by name, and something about their daily lives, needs, and struggles, is a church where the pastor cannot easily fulfill the obligations of a biblical shepherd of God’s flock. Put bluntly, I want to be in a church where my absence on Sunday will soon be noticed and where the pastor or elders can draw alongside me and ask the pertinent questions. I want to be in a church where the eldership takes note if my behavior towards my wife or children is sub-par on a Sunday (hinting at much worse in private). I want to be in a church where I pray for the leadership and where they pray for me—not just in a generic sense of being part of the membership, but informed prayer based on real relationships. In other words, I want to be in a church where my pastor is, well, my pastor and not just that guy who is preaching over there in the distance on a Sunday morning. Put yourself in a small, faithful church, and the pastor is more than likely to hold you accountable to the basics of Christian belief and practice.

Carl Trueman- “Minority Report: A Question of Accountability”

1 comment:

Eric Smith said...

This is an excellent reminder for the pastor, of what he is called to do, and for the member, what he should desire from his pastor. As the pastor of just the sort of small church described here, I am reminded that I have no excuse for neglecting this duty! Thank you for passing this along.