One of the books I picked up over the holidays was Erwin McManus’ An Unstoppable Force. Here’s a excerpt that I think is particularly good. It reminds me of what the church — and particularly pastors — are supposed to be up to. In particular, it is a call for existing churches to not rest on its laurels or traditions.
“It may seem inconceivable, but not long ago the job of church growth consultant did not exist. In fact, church growth seminars and dying churches were virtually unheard of. Although most churches were essentially in plateau, there was a sense of the church as a place of permanence and stability. You just hung your sign outside, and the appropriate parishioners found their way there. The primary role of the pastor was caretaker/teacher, and many times even the role of evangelist was left to someone who came from out of town.
“One could almost predict the development of the Master of Divinity degree as the religious equivalent to the M.B.A. Seminaries began to produce what local churches perceived they needed; godly men who had a professional understanding of theology, pastoral care, and management. Pastors were valued for their ability to bring and keep order rather than for their ability to bring and lead change. The reality was that pastors were being equipped to preserve the past rather than create the future. We became known for being traditional rather than transformational. The ritual replaced the radical.”