The Discussion We Need to Have with Pastors

Monday Discussion

One of the great disappointments of any gathering of pastors is how much of the discussion around our tables, at our conferences, ministerials and seminars revolves around trivialities. We talk more about systems and programs, size of churches, staff hires, staff departures, grumblers and controllers, elders and deacons, ministry structures, what my friend Colin Marshall calls “Trellis Building” or “how to satisfy different groups” in our churches, than we do about Jesus and the wonder of the gospel.

There are exceptions of course. The Bethlehem Pastor’s Conference is one, but unfortunately, denominational conferences and local ministerials are filled with banal, soul-devouring trivia. There is very little discussion of a whole host of important and neglected topics:

  1. How do we exalt Christ better?
  2. How do we love one another better?
  3. How do we follow Jesus to the lost better?
  4. How do we call people outside and inside the church to repent and believe better?
  5. How do we bear with one another better?
  6. How do we believe the best in one another?
  7. How do we fight the temptation to gossip better?
  8. How do we wage war against pride?
  9. How do we cultivate humility, grace under pressure, and kindness toward the ingracious?
  10. How do we call mere males to become godly men with spiritual steel in their hearts?

It would be great to sit around a table with other pastors and just brainstorm about ten things we could do in our churches to exalt Christ as supremely valuable and worthy of not only passionate praise but a bold proclamation of the gospel outside the walls of our buildings.

So let’s start that discussion here. Let’s see if we can think of ten things to exalt Christ as:

  • Supremely valuable and worthy of passionate praise, and
  • Bold proclamation of the gospel outside the walls of our buildings.

Ground Rules:

  • This isn’t a forum to exalt what you are doing but a brainstorm about what any church could do.
  • This isn’t a forum to dump on things our churches are doing, but a positive affirmation of things we could do.
  • End your comment with a prayer for the churches in your community to exalt the risen Christ.

John 12:32 (ESV)
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

6 thoughts on “The Discussion We Need to Have with Pastors

  1. Thank you for this post Pastor Marty. It challenges me to go deeper. I feel there are two aspects to Church that must be undertaken and could be part of the top 10.

    1) We must simply become friends to our neighbors and engage them as to what fears, worries, joys, loves etc. they have. We the church must simply say “We want to help you make it in this world.” We must impact the community where our church building resides otherwise we are simply another option on a Sunday morning. People need help, need friends and ultimately will be-friend you back (i.e. door opens).

    2) The second point would apply to the disciples. It is the very idea of Cheap Grace vs. Real Grace first penned by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the middle of Nazi persecution in WW2. The study of Scripture tells us we must follow; we must be obedient. Those of us who are Pastors must literally allow ourselves to die to ourselves and be obedient to the Call of Messiah. And we must CHALLENGE each other to do so. Instead of structures and denom issues, we should call on each other to DEEP, REAL Grace. Hundreds of people testified to Bonhoeffer’s real faith and because of that real faith lives were changed.


  2. Hey Marty,

    I think we need to challenge our congregations that if there is anyone you don’t love -lets get this taken care of before we do anything else. (Dramatic I know but it does speak to what we really value -is it the show must go on – or the show must be real)

    Please bring this conversation to our pastors lunch next Monday.



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