are your people stupid?

A recent blog by Mark Galli of Christianity Today includes this “gem”:

The place [the National Pastors Convention] is full of pastors who are either exhausted, burnt out, frustrated, or missional. They all amount to the same thing: a simmering anger about the church.

For most pastors that anger is directed at stupid lay people, stubborn church boards, or indifferent church bureaucrats. But “the church,” and especially “the Western church” or “the American church,” is the object of a myriad of derisive and sarcastic comments.


Pastor, would you say your people are “stupid”?

The way Galli writes, it seems that many pastors have a rather dismal view of their congregations. Galli goes on with:

Pastors are an idealistic lot, having entered the ministry because they had the mistaken idea that they could make a difference in the world. And the church is standing in their way. I know. I was once a pastor. It’s the way this works. I had great ideas for ministering to the community and the world. And all sorts of church people, from laity to church bureaucrats, got in the way. What I could have done in a church without people!

Really? Is that why men go into the ministry, to make a difference in the world?

I suppose it is true of some. Such phraseology seems to me reflective of something of a messiah-complex, however (or should I say an “Obama” complex?). The frustration expressed seems directed at the inability of getting people in your church to make you look good.

A friend of mine once preached a message for us reminding us of our ministry. He reminded us that the Lord gave us the sheep and shepherd metaphor. He also reminded us that sheep were notoriously, ahem, dumb. (I will take that as distinct from ‘stupid’ as used above.) He reminded us that our calling was to feed the sheep. And he reminded us that we were sheep also – the ‘dumb-ness’ works both ways.

It seems to me that some men enter the ministry with a notion that they are called to ‘turn the world upside down.’ I would remind you that the Lord only had twelve apostles. The rest of us are just shepherds of sheep. If we are good shepherds, the Lord might give us a bigger flock or a wider influence, but we can’t forget that our ministry is feeding sheep.

And they are not our sheep. They are His sheep.

So lay aside the grandiose schemes, be devoted to the Word and prayer, and feed His sheep.