Do you have what it takes to be a 21st Century Pastor?

Do you have what it takes to be a pastor in the 21st century?  Pastor Bob Robert writes:

So . . . . what kind of pastor are you?  I was on a phone call with 15 exceptional pastors of large congregations across the U.S. this week.  Each had grown their church, each has been “successful” in the traditional ways of defining that – but each felt uneasy about where the church is and where things are going.  It’s as if there is this “church” cliff – that everyone acknowledges but not for sure what to do.  For the most part it’s addressed by “style” of church and “where & how” the church meets and “what” the church does, etc.,  I do not believe these are the right questions – or at least not the ones to start with.  I don’t think we’re asking the right questions.  If our answers don’t connect with our context – our answers won’t matter.

Here are some things that pastors will need to concentrate on to be effective leaders:

1.  A 21st century pastor must be a globalist.  The world is all of our “parish” – and we must understand it.  To try to show up and preach, yet know nothing of global culture, traditions, history, economics, the society we are working in, is “religion abuse” – it’s not about us doing our thing – but being the hands and heart of Jesus to people.  I’ve seen it first hand, we Christians has actually done damage to the spread of the Gospel by how we connect.  BUT NOT JUST IN A “GO GLOBAL” perspective – also to acknowledge and do ministry in light of the fact that the whole world is listening on the internet to you – that global migration, trends, culture is now impacting us.  Our 20 somethings are being called the 1st American global generation. Like modernity, postmodernity, etc., globalization is the syncristic philosophy impacting the church everywhere.  (This was in my book “Glocalization.”)

2.  A 21st century pastor has to be a community developer.  It was Robert Lewis who asked the question years ago, “If the church were absent from the community would it be missed?”  Most of the time it wouldn’t except for the worship service for the people who attend it.  I’ve seen several movies lately and all the churches do adds in the theatre.  Most were all the same, “We care about you” and a selling of the Sunday event.  With the “global” “justice” generation – they want to hear about a church that “cares about the city” as well.  (I wrote about this in my book Realtime Connections.)

3.  A 21t century pastor has to be a discipler.  There are global templates of what this looks like – many of us have stumbled onto the same one.  It involves three things simultaneously:  interactive relationship with God, transparent connections with one another, and glocal impact or people using their jobs to serve.  (This was in Transformation that I wrote about.)

4.  A 21st century pastor has to be a diplomat.  Anyone who works globally will have to interact with gatekeepers regardless of their rank.  Protocol is no longer something just for diplomats – but for businessmen, educators, medical – and yes – the pastorate – especially the pastorate.  How do you relate to others?  How do you communicate?  How do you put your best foot forward? (Bold as Love)

5.  A 21st century pastor has to be an opportunity seizer.  The greatest things that will happen in the 21st century will not be from purpose statements like the 20th century.  Instead, they will come from leaves blowing everywhere from everywhere and the pastor will have to seize what comes in front of them.  There are no rules for how the world is operating – we are in a new era and phase.  We need to go back to the book of ACTS of the HOLY SPIRIT and stay in step with the Spirit. I am living proof of this – I would not have even known how to have planned to be involved in the things I am today – neither did my background prepare me.  (Bold as Love)

// Bob also thinks that the 21st century pastor must be a people releaser, a communication specialist, and a bridge builder… Read more now:  WHAT KIND OF PASTOR ARE YOU IN THE 21ST CENTURY.



  • David January 3, 2013 Reply

    So we’re back to the old model of expecting one man to be everything. Great.

  • Steve Long January 4, 2013 Reply

    I don’t think so David. I think Todd knows that there are a few of us out there who have an ax to grind with the human manufactured ‘role’ of Pastor and he kindly looks out for us by occasionally providing a forum for a cathartic outburst.

  • John Newsome January 4, 2013 Reply

    David, I understand your feelings. Why is it that the more I read about what it takes to be a successful pastor the more I feel like leaving the ministry? The reality is that Jesus said He would build His church and what the world needs is for Him to show up in a powerful way in our churches. This does not mean we should not be relevant and on top of trends, but the task is beyond us and if He has called us we need to rest in Him and be content with what He is doing through us.

  • Steve Long January 5, 2013 Reply

    It isn’t a feeling for me and I don’t think it is a feeling for David either. The Scripture does not describe a role in the church like the modern day Pastor ….except perhaps for that found in 3rd John referencing a certain Diotrephes. In this passage the loving Apostle asks why a certain man has been allowed to become sole manager of the direction of the local congregation. John intends to rectify this (as though he is convince that this is a wrong direction for a congregation to go). We have just changed the title ‘Priest’ to ‘Pastor’ after the reformation movement and went on like nothing bad happened. The word properly applied speaks to one of the roles of the Eldership. God intended the church to be run in a tribal fashion (like a huge family) with the old, wise ones who know God in depth to kinda’ herd and guide the young’uns along in spiritual things. God NEVER intended that there be a man at the center of things in His church. That is why you don’t see nomenclature like ‘Timothy’s Church’, or ‘Titus’s Church’ in the New Testament. Congregations got their identity by their geographic location, like ‘the Church at Corinth’, or ‘the Church at Rome’. The role of Pastor as it is constituted today is wrong and utterly disobedient. It is evidence that we don’t trust God’s Spirit to guide things and so we have entrusted guidance to the Bible Colleges and their yearly crop of freshly minted “Pastors”. The vision has already been given by God on His throne and we do not need little Diotrepheses running around telling us that “where there is no vision the people perish” and that because they are Pastor the vision comes from them.

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