The 4 Pastors

The following fictional scenarios depict four types of today’s pastors. But the question is, how much is fiction, how much is fact?

The emerging pastor

The emerging pastor felt a little insulted that only 4 people showed up for the Saturday night coffee and conversation church service. Because of the small turn out they went to Starbucks and discussed suffering while listening to U2. They hung out on couches and read a popular new coffee table book, and talked about how Jesus identified with our pain as He hung on the cross, feeling what we feel, the god who screamed with us, so we could have solidarity in suffering. Some expressed their doubts about hell and heaven, and the sacrificial atonement. They went home without answers, empty, but having engaged the culture.

The market driven pastor

The market driven pastor was disappointed that only 4 people showed up for the highly promoted Recover Up 101 and dessert night. The church was dying, and he had hoped the sign on the road would bring in more people from the community. Because of the small turnout he decided to skip the worship time. While they ate dessert they read through steps 1 -12 in the manual, and talked about how a #1 best selling book had changed their lives. Then they were led in a discussion about finding their purpose, sharing their hurts and hangups, and joining God’s family for community and happiness. Some quietly wondered why they didn’t feel happy, but went home feeling glad about having found a positive church with a smoking area and a coffee bar.

The contemplative pastor

The contemplative pastor was pleased that 4 people showed up for Lectio Divina night. She started by slowly leading them in a sacred reading of Psalm 23 in the candle lit room. They were encouraged to find a quiet place at different tables to concentrate on being still. After practicing their breathing exercise as instructed, they repeated the passage slowly until one word popped out at them. Then they were to quietly repeat this over again until an inner silence was reached. They waited to hear God speaking to them like this for a few minutes before regrouping to share what they thought they heard. They went home euphoric about their experiences, with various handouts of Thomas Merton and St. Teresa of Avila quotes to read over until next week.

The faithful pastor

The faithful pastor didn’t take note that only 4 people showed up for Bible study and communion on the night of November 11th. In spite of the small turnout he played all ten songs on the music sheet with his guitar, and led the small group in worship in remembrance of what the Lord had done to save them. They sat in a circle and read through the whole chapter of John 19, every verse, and prayed and thanked the Lord for His substitutionary sacrifice for their sins, and that while they were sinners, Christ had died for them in their place. Some quietly wept in between prayers of thanksgiving and partaking of the bread and the cup. They went home spiritually nourished and refreshed, having fixed their eyes on Jesus that evening.

HT: More Books and Things

6 thoughts on “The 4 Pastors

  1. One more: The Biblical pastor did what the faithful pastor did, except before and after the Bible study and communion service, he went to the homes of all his neighbors and all those who lived in proximity to the church and tried to share the Gospel with them in their home, or, at least, on their front porch.


  2. Excellent! Reminds me of a similar description of churches, that I used in my discussions with the pastors of my former church:

    The church largely fits what has been described as a “Traditional Church”, within the evangelical landscape. This is a church which appeals to the world with programs and door to door evangelism; concludes sermons by inviting people to walk the aisle or accept Jesus; proclaiming that Jesus longs for a personal relationship with each person and all one must do is to invite Him into his heart.

    This model, along with those describing “Seeker Sensitive” and “Missional”, starts with a secondary question – “How can we reach the world?” This is a good question, but it’s not primary. The primary question is, “How do we worship?” Worship is primary because God is primary. Programs that only give the illusion of honoring God exist because churches lose their primary focus – which is to be on the Lord, not His creation.

    A 4th model is described, “The Godward Church” – A group of people gather in a room. One of them stands up, opens a Bible and says, “This is what God says.” He explains the text and how it should affect one’s life. The church sings, prays, shares the bread and the cup, and goes home. Not very market savvy. Not very exciting. But the Word of God comes with power, the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction. Consciences are pierced, lives changed. People go home worshiping God by hating sin, loving one another, and proclaiming the gospel to their neighbors. A Godward church is a worshiping church, which will make it a supernaturally attractive church; distinct like salt and bright like fire. The people begin to look like – sons and daughters of God. That’s most attractive – and it starts with hearing the Word of God.

    (I’ve taken the preceding church descriptions from a report from 9Marks located at


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