Pastor as Businessman

There’s a sad irony here that I’m borderline ashamed of. Keith was the guy who kindly asked me to join City of God and one of the first things that I posted on here was a slight challenge to one of his thoughts. Now I’m doing it again. I apologise in advance Keith!!!

In his earlier post called Fast Company to Hell, Keith was rightly upset with pastors who uncritically absorb “secular” business models in their philosophy of ministry. My problem is definitely not with his general criticism – as Piper rightly said, brothers we are not professionals. My problem is, however, with Keith’s use of the absolute word “any.” It made me ask myself: “Is it true that there isn’t any relationship between pastoring and the business world?” I think that there is and I believe that I could muster up a list that shows relations between the two.

Take leadership for example. Both good pastors and good businessmen need to be good leaders. That’s hopefully an undisputed given. Neither church or business would last if their leaders weren’t…well…leaders.

How about stewardship? Should a pastor and a businessman be well-ordered when it comes to time and finances in their respective callings?

Risk taking – here’s one we don’t often think of in regard to pastoral ministry. Yet both pastors and businessman need to take godly risks to ensure that the vision of their church or business stay on the mission its been called by God to do. If a pastor doesn’t take risks, there will be no church discipline, no sacrifice, no hard sermons, etc.

I actually think that most of the key qualities of pastoral ministry that I learned about in pastoral theology (for more, scroll through my prof’s blog) could be applied to the business world. I know that I’m likely straining at a gnat here, but I believe that it’s necessary to counter the imbalance that we Reformed folk often wind up with. As Keith rightly said, we should not seek to model our pastoring on the business world, but at the same time we cannot deny useful parallels. Surely Bill Hybels and co., are out to lunch in their philosophies of ministry. But is it absolutely (as indicated by the word “any”) wrong to make use of the good and godly things of the business world for the well-being of the local church? Of course, critical thinking with Bible in hand is necessary to think this through.