There are many discussions on the internet about whether or not churches need full time pastors. There is a line of thought that says pastors should be just like everybody else and live in the ‘real world’. The people who push this idea think that this is the real problem with the church today.
While I have some sympathy for the idea of pastors being connected to the ‘real world’, my perspective is that full time pastors are good things. I like to compare pastors to lawyers. If you are arrested (falsely or not) you want to have access to a good lawyer as quickly as possible. You don’t want your lawyer to tell you, well I need to go and finish this plumbing job so I can get paid and then I’ll come and get you out of prison. You want to know your lawyer is full time focused on dealing with legal issues when you need them.
Likewise with your pastor, when you go through a crisis you want to know that your pastor is available to you to come and be there with you and help you through the crisis. You don’t want your pastor to tell you, well I’ve just got to finish this plumbing job and then I can come and help you deal with your crisis.
The true role of a pastor is to bringing to healing to the wounds that life’s crises bring. I was watching a TV show the other day where a nurse and a doctor were talking. The doctor said he wanted to be a doctor to heal people but the nurse countered that doctors diagnose but nurses heal. Healing takes time and nurses (should) take time with people. The doctors come and go quickly. The nurse spends more time making sure the healing happens. Therefore they see less people.
I suspect that one of the many issues in the church today is that there aren’t that many ‘pastors’ who are free to sit and help bring healing. Pastors want to be the ‘doctors’ or the ‘leaders’ and the leaders don’t come and sit to spend time with people. They lead and let others to that. Unfortunately in many churches the ‘others’ don’t do it, or do it poorly.