Eugene Peterson in WORKING THE ANGLES, highlights that a pastor’s traditional role is prayer, study of Scripture and spiritual formation. He rails against those who serve as shop keepers focused on administration rather than spiritual direction. Peterson’s point is well-taken. Still, renewal pastors living in a rapidly changing, post-churched and religiously non-committal world have additional responsibilities they must embrace if they hope to be Gospel influencers in a contemporary society.
Here Are Some Unique Roles of Renewal Pastors
Role 1: The Pastor as Gospel Re-framer
In the 1990’s, nearly every picture in our home was gold framed. Today, they are mostly framed in black. The pictures are unchanged, but the frames are different. Renewal pastors must re-frame the Gospel to connect with those who are disconnected from faith and faith family.
Role 2: The Pastor as Cultural Whisperer
In the film “The Horse Whisperer”, Robert Redford is a trainer who understands and gently speaks to horses. Renewal pastors must understand and gently speak to a secular culture beginning with quiet whispers and remind people of a good God and an eternal destiny.
Role 3: The Pastor as Transitional Facilitator
Both the world and the church are changing at a remarkable speed. Check out Carey Nieuwhof’s excellent blog post about changes that will dominate 2022 here. Renewal pastors must provide skilled transitional leadership to help churches navigate these and other changes.
Role 4: The Pastor as Biblical Imaginer
Complex imagination now dominates even the youngest among us. Children, for example, are entrenched in the imaginative worlds of Harry Potter and Star Wars which are married to unique world views. Renewal pastors must reintroduce biblical imagination to re-capture the hearts and minds of all ages for the grand vision of God’s eternal Kingdom marked by Shalom.
Role 5: The Pastor as Truth Revealer
Our present culture has been labeled “post-truth.” Multiple sources of information create alternative realities and promote lies to their audiences. In a conspiracy laden world, renewal pastors must examine, pray through and courageously present truth to re-ground society in God-filled reality.
Role 6: The Pastor as Justice Initiator
The world is full of injustice as rich take advantage of the poor, majorities oppress minorities, and the well-fed, well-connected, well-blessed overlook the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and imprisoned. Renewal pastors must be a voice for justice and mercy and encourage a humble walk with God.
Role 7: The Pastor as Discipleship Motivator
A great tragedy of our recent past is seeing how the behavior of Jesus followers has been unlike Jesus. Past faith formation has been inadequate for the challenges of this season. Renewal pastors must motivate a depth of discipleship that transcends disease and politics.