Fast Company to Hell

After what will hopefully soon become a bi-weekly poker game (to which everyone here is invited of course), a heated discussion ensued over the relationship between pastoring and the business world. My position is as follows: I’d sooner see my 16 year old daughter (if I had one) have a relationship with a coked out 35 year old vagrant than see pastors have any relationship with the business world.

In fact, if I had any say about these things (which I don’t), I’d try and prevent pastors from getting ordained who had a monthly subscription to swill like Fast Company magazine.

Why? Pastoring is a discipline like any other. Because of that, we have our own curriculum. We’ve forgotten this. Why else would shepherds read Small Business magazine when they could be reading Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, George Herbert, A Diary of a Country Priest, St. John Chrysostom, Richard Baxter, and especially, Eugene Peterson?

Where in the hell did we get the idea that the church is even remotely like a business anyways?

Some will say that the business world is better suited to adapting to and meeting the needs of modern society, after all that’s just what they do. One has to make profits after all and an unsatisfied customer definitely isn’t a paying customer. People who argue like this forget that the church has its own culture. We have robust Psalm singing, Charles Wesley, the Book of Common Prayer, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Liturgy of the Hours, family prayers, etc. When people convert to Christ, they are also converting to life in Christ’s church, where all these treasures are shared in common.

Of course many modern pastors don’t even know what some of these treasures are. And what do you expect? Some don’t have formal (or even informal) theological training. Why would you when you can get a Master’s degree in marketing? (I’m looking at you Bill Hybels).

Am I being too tough on these wannabee CEO’s? No, I don’t think I am. I’m not speaking in hyperbole when I say I wouldn’t want to see a man ordained who regularly reads Fast Company. The problem has to do with theory vs. practice. Case in point: Gerald McDermott’s Can Evangelicals Learn from World Religions? It’s a great book with a difficult thesis to contradict. McDermott spends 200+ pages proving that all major world religions contain varying degress of important truths. Most importantly, some religions highlight some truths so well that evangelicals should study and learn from them (e.g. Islam and submission). This sounds great in theory, but in practice would be disastrous for a church to adopt. Most people haven’t even mastered basic Christianity. Even those who have are not prepared with the intellectual tools to cut and paste from major world religions in a faithful way.

It’s the same with modern day multi-colored cardigan wearing pastors. They’re not ready for Fast Company. Give them ten years in the church fathers and then we’ll see if they’re ready.

Until then, grow up and stop pretending like you’re a CEO. You’re not a professional and you never will be. That’s why you wear a clerical collar – it’s the collar of a slave.

Oh wait, we don’t wear those anymore.