The death of pastoral care

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:


Other contributing factors:

  • The small-groups revolution of the last forty years has shifted a lot of pastoring, and nearly all the small-scale pastoring, onto homegroup/small group leaders. Some leaders are up to the task - one leader I had, back in the day, ended up in ordained ministry - others aren’t.
  • I’ve been in at least two churches where the senior pastor hired a 2-i-c so he could get on with the teaching & administration, and leave the hands-on pastoring to the deputy - especially the significant needs cases. This didn’t always work.
  • I’ve seen occasions where the pastor has spoken into a situation and “dropped the ball” as a result, because he didn’t actually know the situation as well as he thought he did.

Nature abhors a vacuum and if the sheep cannot get pastoral care where they should, they will look elsewhere for it.


I believe I’ve shared this somewhere around here before, but one of my fondest memories of my pastor – and one that I plan to share at his funeral, if providence allows – comes from a lunch meeting we had awhile back. He had noticed I hadn’t been singing on a particular Sunday morning (and probably several Sunday mornings prior), and was inquiring about it. Was I not feeling well? Was I annoyed with the preacher? Was I being snooty about the song choices? Was I distracted by my young children? He admonished me that I ought sing, and gave his reasonings.

Consider how many people there are in the world who recoil at this kind of thing. “Who does this overbearing jerk think he is? So we’re so legalistic around here that the pastor polices our singing now? What kind of cultish nonsense is this? Where does Jesus give this kind of authority to pastors? What kind of a pastor does that?”

Or maybe – just maybe – one would do well to stop and consider how good a thing it is to have men in your life who love your soul enough to challenge your grumpy countenance.

What kind of pastor does this, indeed?