It’s pastor appreciation month, right? So let’s talk about pastors, two in particular: Driscoll and Shirk. In a bit of irony most people reading this blog know the one named Shirk but fewer might know the one named Driscoll. Ironic because Driscoll is what we call a “pastor celebrity” while Shirk is just a regular pastor shepherd. Except one is still a pastor and the other is not.
Pastor Driscoll was (and probably still is to some) an icon to a whole generation of young, restless, and theologically conservative men who were either pastors or were preparing to be one. He was himself young, brash, willing to say the things regular pastors wouldn’t and in ways regular pastors wouldn’t, kind of pastor. This drew a crowd (15,000 attended the weekly services of Mars Hill Church in multiple states) . This piqued the interest of a generation that didn’t want to do church the way their fathers did. He gave theological credibility to being a church culture rebel. Here lies the problem; at heart he was a rebel. This week he resigned due to a lengthy season of turmoil involving investigations and lawsuits over his character in terms of spiritual abuse, plagiarism and questionable business ethics among other items. I want to be careful and sincere in my very distant and removed critique of Pastor Driscoll but if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck; well, it’s probably a duck. Turns out he was a duck more than a shepherd. Pastor Driscoll can and may still find a shepherds heart, return to feeding and loving a flock, and as Peter was restored, so too can he.
The Apostle Peter was a brash, say things in ways no one else dared, kind of guy too. But all of that was untamed still by Christ and when the heat of ministry got real hot (think of the arrest and trial of Jesus) he leaned on his own bravado and plan. It was a, how shall we say it, “Ministry fail!” Then came a little mentoring moment by the Sea of Galilee where Jesus restored Peter to ministry. What did Peter learn? He tells us in his own words:
Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And a few verses later; God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
Hmm. Sounds more like Pastor Shirk than it does Pastor Driscoll. Which, I believe, makes sense why one is still a pastor and the other is not.
Pastor Shirk (in the spirit of full disclosure is my Senior Pastor) models these verses because he has been tamed by Christ. Is he perfect? No, but he has yielded his ministry to the Chief Shepherd. His services draw, umm, 400. But he is an example to those 400. He leads those 400 to green pastures. The church is not about him; it’s about Christ. He is faithful not flashy. I think that is what Jesus taught Peter about being a true spiritual leader.
And perhaps that is what Pastor Driscoll will discover.
So, during pastor appreciation month give appreciation to all those faithful men of God who labor week in and week out to simply and humbly care for souls. They will be hardly be known outside their own community, let alone icons to a generation, but they will bring honor and glory to their Savior. He will exalt them in due time and give them the crown of glory that will never fade away. And that will be just fine by them.