When I hear the term mercenary for some reason I can’t get Jean Claude Van Dam out of my head and hear the word Legionnaire playing over and over. The recruiting sergeant saying, “There are only three ways you can return to France. One, fulfill your contract. Two, disability. And three, in a box!”
A mercenary in my mind is someone who, out of self interest, loans him/herself to a cause for money usually at the cost of their ethics. They are money oriented, bribable, and greedy. They are typically hired, paid or bought for a specific purpose and are loyal in so far as it is beneficial to them.
OR I also think of a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army. They will move for the higher pay or leave when the cost seems too great or exceeds their compensation. The grass is greener.
The Correlation to Pastoral Ministry?
what are the three significant transitions for a pastor:
- How pastors arrive at a church
- How pastors leave a church
- How pastors plant a church
Is our western concept of pastoral ministry more similar to the New Testament example or more in line with a mercenary mentality?
I hate thinking that this concept of mercenary may be true of pastors but Id like to see the positive—they go where they feel that God is leading. They go with great motives: to help shepherd a community of people. To help move people closer to Jesus. To deepen our understanding of who God is. But is it more in a mercenary fashion of leaving one church and going to the next?
Though some potentially grow up in a church- feel a call to vocational ministry- Attend a bible college or seminary and begin leading in that church…that doesn’t feel like the norm….instead they finish that and begin the process of finding a different church to pastor.
Maybe they stay at that church a few years. Maybe not. Then off to another church with hirer pay, a different position, or a different location.
Or even worse, a difference of vision and direction within the church and what could be called a church plant is rooted in a disagreement and a frustration within the staff. The church “plants” not out of health but out of disagreement.
The mercenary pastor is born.
Do you see our culture breeding mercenary pastors or pastoral leadership raised up in a church and sent? Is there anything wrong with our cultural norm of pastoral leadership?