Friday, July 1, 2011
The Pastor Has No Clothes!
With a strong sense of anticipation I have waited for the release of this book by Jon Zens. Jon is a man who has been declaring the supremacy of Jesus and Kingdom values regarding the Church and leadership for quite some time. And I'm thankful for the developing friendship with him.
Though I have pre-ordered "The Pastor Has No Clothes", he sent an advance copy to me online last night, and it was very difficult to peel my eyes away from it.
With Jon's blessing I'm sharing an excerpt of this new book, challenging our long-standing and unbiblical practice of building pastor-centered "churches". This section comes from the "Prelude". Jon brilliantly challenges us to change our focus of understanding of God's word, from "me" to "us". We begin by understanding "ekklesia", which means the assembly of believers. We are called to walk together as family, demonstrating at least 58 "one anothers" of the New Testament in genuine relationships 24/7:
The call to be longsuffering and forbearing
with others makes no real sense without day-to-day involvement
that simply does not and cannot take place by seeing people for
a few hours a week at agenda-controlled religious meetings with
In practice, though, where do we most commonly put the
emphasis on what people call “church”? It pretty much revolves
around “the pastor.” He is the one with the training, the ordination,
the assumed leadership “vision,” and the stock sermon repertoire.
Without a “pastor” people will generally conclude
that you don’t have a church. So, if a “pastor” leaves a church,
then a general crisis ensues because he has to be replaced and
What have we done? We have elevated a mere traditional
concept—that there must be a “pastor” to lead the church—
for which there is not a shred of evidence in the NT. By doing
this, most church structures suppress the life of Jesus coming to
expression through the 58 “one-another(s)”that are clearly in
the NT. Then, since the “one-another” perspectives are pushed
into the background, the “pastor” spends much of his time
helping the flock live the Christian life as individuals.
It is apparent that, in the NT, Christ’s life in each believer
comes to expression as they gather in open meetings and edify
each other (1 Corinthians 14:26). The NT knows nothing of
the “worship services” as practiced now. In early church gatherings
there was no one person, or group, “up-front” leading the
time together. It was a body meeting led by the Holy Spirit as
an expression of Jesus Christ.
What are we doing? We bring individuals together who
haven’t seen each other since last Sunday (maybe) to sing
a few over-used songs, lay some money in a plate, listen to a
practiced pastoral prayer, hear a rehearsed sermon, and then
return to home to isolated meals and mindless television watching.
“Church services” climax with the sermon and perhaps an
altar call, for those of the slightly more evangelical persuasions.
Otherwise, church attendees simply go through whatever is
ordained in the weekly church bulletin without necessarily having
an ounce of loving commitment to anyone.
Individuals and families sit in the pews week after week who are dysfunctioning in stress-filled pressure cookers of bad jobs, financial distress, relationship collapses and generally living lives of lies, despairand self-destruction, yet they routinely fall through the cracks
of the organized, pastor-led church machinery.
Early believers gathered together in a way where all could
be part of an expression of Christ on earth and to their local
For all intents and purposes, we now come to
“church” to see one person religiously function and hear a sermon
often reflecting fallen worldly values and concerns. Do you
see the disconnect? The former is Christ flowing like living water
from His people in a life of interdependence; the latter is institutional
and fosters inappropriate dependence on one part: “the
To order "The Pastor Has No Clothes", you can click the link below: