Friday, June 12, 2009

Is that edifying to the church?

Should pastors blog? This has been a question rolling around in my head all week. I keep going back and forth on it, and still haven't decided for sure how I feel. The more direct question that I've come to is: Should a pastor always edify the church through their blog? To that I say yes! Now there are people who might say that pastors are people too, and sometimes their blogs are just an expression of their humanity, not necessarily of their role as a pastor. To that I say, if can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen, OR if you don't want to live your life under intense scrutiny don't become a pastor, or a Christian for that matter.

I say all of this not to say that pastors have to be perfect, or that their blogs have to be 100% edifying. I say this to challenge pastors to think about the standard they are setting for the people they are leading. The new trend is for pastors to blog as a way of footnotes for a recent sermon. This I love. It really is enjoyable for me to look at a blog of someone who has been studying much deeper than I am capable of studying something that I feel is necessary for my life and I find an extra sermon or two in their elaboration of the point. It is edifying to my faith, and I think it is as well to the faith of others. Do I expect this to be my only source of sermons though? No way! Christians are commanded time and again throughout the Bible to seek out corporate worship. But, when we are not as good at studying as we should be, these blogs that give you everything that had to be cut out to make the sermon short enough for Sunday are wonderful resources to get our studying headed down the right path. Thank God there are pastors technically savvy enough to give us the extra meat to encourage us in our growth!

The blogs that bother me are the pastors who seem to blog all day long. One particular blog, I recently had to stop reading because I would get so upset that the writer was making 3-7 blog posts a day, most of them between 8-5. Part of what disturbed me was the content of the blog; at least one post a day was a vehement virtual screaming against abortion. If you wonder how I feel about Christians screaming about the horrors of abortion, look further back in my blog. The other part that bothered me was the amount of time each day that this pastor spent blogging. My issue with this is from strictly a financial perspective.

People give their money to the church with a three part understanding. First, they give because it is commanded, and often they give cheerfully because it is a desire in their heart. Second, they give in order to support the ministries of the church, whether it's missions, or children's church, or meals for the sick, or any number of other things. Third they give to support the staff of the church. Hopefully people recognize that pastors, secretaries, janitors, and financial people need to have money to be able to eat, and in order for them to serve the church with all of themselves it is our duty as the body to provide for them. It's sort of the new application of the old Levitical Law that allowed provision for the Levites so that they could focus on serving the people instead of focusing out feeding their families. I have seen great examples of pastors taking this part of people's giving very seriously, almost too seriously sometimes. I have seen pastors who literally work themselves sick because their desire to serve the church was stronger than their desire for their own lives. Do I think that pastors should work 80 hour work weeks? No, but those who just hang out in the office from 8-5 and then go home and make no extra effort in edifying and discipling get a lot less respect from me than those who do.

So, when I see a pastor who spends all day blogging, and very rarely are his blog posts edifying, it makes me feel like he doesn't understand Who he serves, or why he is being paid to be in the position he is in. Is it so important to have a well read, frequently updated blog that you need to forsake your ministry to the church to get it? I would rather you didn't ever blog and pour your passion into loving people!

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