• Patty Hicks

    True there are pastors who are terrible at feeding their sheep but there are far more sheep who are terrible at feasting on what they have put before them. To sue over such a thing is a bit extreme. But no where do I see a place in scripture where it says we are to take our leaders to court…it only says we are to pray for them that it may go well for us. However God does says some very stern things regarding leadership that rob for the flock for their own benefit and more. But as I see it this subject goes deeper to personal responsibility on both sides…and there are two sides to this one for sure.

    If I were feeling like I wasn’t being fed the first thing I’d do is get on my face before God and ask what if anything in my own heart might be the cause. For if it is God who is ultimately responsible for our feeding then we need to realize that He will feed us where ever we are! If we are looking only to our pastor/leadership to feed us our perspective is off for even a pastor is only a mouthpiece. However, if the pastor is the source of some spiritual malnourishment it would be a huge signal to be praying for them….but never sue them over such a failing. I would not leave too quickly either as some do, but would wait on God. That is the only way I know to gain peace and God’s perspective and it’s pretty amazing what happens when we gain HIS perspective. It is our first obligation to be obedient to God and trust Him for the rest.

    This article is a wonderful reminder to be praying for our pastors and encourage others to be praying for them as well. It begs to wonder if the lack of our prayers for them might be the cause of their inadequacy to be able to feed the flock. Just a thought.

    • George Bullard

      Patty, you are on target that we must pray for our pastoral leaders, as while as for our lay leaders. They will be better equipped to lead out in spiritual formation if we have an appropriate attitude and action of prayer. Thanks for posting a comment.

  • lundque

    Picture the weary pastor, alone with his or her own fears and tears, asking the Spirit if they’re doing it right. Are we all there from time to time?
    Or, I could trundle out my collection of musty Roman tort and contract law, shared with my fellow recovering attorney pastor cohort sitting to the wee hours at Starbucks arguing the standard of due care for facilitating spiritual growth and the measure of a breach! Moot Court held with a side of hot cross buns!
    The standards of pastoral due care are much clearer in the panoply of mal/mis/and non feasance actions that would get you hauled before a judge. That’s why we have E&O insurance. The courts don’t expect a harmed congregant to follow the Matthew rendition of Jesus’ ecclesiastical progressive discipline process.
    There is a reason Christ sent the disciples out in pairs to do mission. We are NOT expected to do this competently while completely on our own, and I’m a bit surprised no one else mentioned it as an adjunct to prayer. An attentive church governing board, a mentor, a close colleague, an attentive spouse can all assist in helping a pastor see what they might need to change, or help us recognize whether the call we answered is the one we were meant to hear.

    • George Bullard

      Ministry is best done in community where we have mutual accountability to one another and to the Triune God! In such community we do not look for someone [perhaps the pastor] to blame when the “right” spiritual formation tings are not happening. Thanks for your comments.

  • Mart Gray

    Well, I understand the ultimate issue regarding both pastoral responsibility and congregational maturation, but your propositional question is like saying, If the patient develops diabetes or heart disease, should he be able to sue the doctor for malpractice? The proposition is too simplistic representation of the complexity of the problem.

    • George Bullard

      Yes, Mart, the proposition was intended to provoke thought. That it has done. What are your thoughts about spiritual formation in community with one another?

      • Mart Gray

        Well, I think part of SF is shafting our personal stories in a covenant community where we can be authentic, vulnerable and safe. Ministers and laypersons alike. The power of our successes, failures, struggles and doubts….we need to share these more. That more than any SF “program” is needed…or a SF program that facilitates this.

        • George Bullard

          Yes, agreed! I especially agree that spiritual formation [and missional engagement] are not a program, but a process framework within which people as individuals and in community can shape their personal stories. And, yes, the senior or solo pastor and other staff can model this in their own lives.

  • George Bullard

    Allen, thank you for sharing this resource. I look forward to the forthcoming book.