Abracadabra, You’re a pastor now…

            Admittedly, I am a nerd. It’s always been this way.

In my childhood years, you would probably find me watching The History Channel rather than watching Disney movies like the rest of my peers. The reason behind my flagrant nerdom was probably rooted in my inherent skepticism. I always found myself disenfranchised by how unbelievable the narratives were and chose to watch things a bit more anchored in reality.  For example: The notion that a short, wand-yielding fairy godmother could say “abracadabra” and transform a gourd into an BMW-stagecoach was so lame to me... so I watched Modern Marvels instead… Flagrant. Nerdom.

However hypercritical my childhood perception of make-believe was, there might have been a tiny bit of merit in it as well. Growing up with keen awareness that things don’t just magically happen is beneficial.

Recognizing this was helpful to shed light on my view of pastoral equipping. No matter what magical words an organization speaks over us, labels us, or even I label myself… it does not magically equip us for that assigned designation.  This isn’t conjecture or lofty philosophy. It’s common sense that we utilize in all of our other deductive reasoning.  For instance, nobody looks at a salad and says,  “Abracadabra, you are now a burger” and then expects it to magically become a burger. I wish it worked like this but believe me, it doesn’t.

While this is obviously far-fetched, we’ve often used this same formula to inaugurate pastors: “Abracadabra, you’re a pastor now”. Okay, so maybe we don’t bring them before our congregations and with a wave of a wand declare them a pastor, but we do similarly crazy things. Seeking out a person solely based on gifting and awarding them the title of pastor without careful vetting to discern whether they are actually called to pastor is a rampant practice within many evangelical circles. It’s just as ludicrous as magically labeling pumpkins as stagecoaches. Our flesh longs for talent and charisma more than true pastoral care for our churches.

In a microwave culture, its tough to palate that Pastors don’t just magically appear. They have to be called, equipped and trained. Furthermore, it has real life implications with the potential to greatly wound the people of God.

Far too many of you are currently tasting the bitter fruit of a “pastor” who is/was wildly unequipped to live in accordance with the label given them. When the magic label wore off and it was time to be counseled through real addiction and heartache, the ball was dropped. When you confided in them, they broke your trust and gossiped about you. When you needed counsel, they drew from an empty well.  When you needed humble leadership, ego and pride ruled the day. They weren’t equipped to rise to their title. The struggle is real.

So what are we to do? How do we strive to reverse the tide and influx of ill-equipped “pastors”? While there are many avenues worth pursuing, I want to highlight two:

1.                    If you aspire to pastoral leadership, be bold; take the plunge to be equipped. It’s worth it. It’s not a waste of time or energy.  Pray and seek Jesus who calls you, take a course, be discipled by a trusted pastor, study the Word of God hard, just do something! Your future sheep will be blessed that your equipping and capability come from the Holy Spirit via hard work, grit and effort instead of reliance on the insufficient philosophy of  “abracadabra, you’re a pastor now”.

2.                    Some are senders and some are sent. Be a sender! Equipping for pastors can be an endeavor that involves great costs, both socially and economically. It often renders them unable to muscle their way through the process by their own means. So how can we send? First, ask God to make you care. Once you care, act. Pray, finance, encourage or even lovingly reprove those that are pursuing pastoral work. “Sending” is verb. If you are passionate about the health of The Church, actively rally behind those seeking to lead it. It’s an investment that will pay spiritual dividends in your own life and the lives of countless others!

Brandon Castle