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1. These are the three types of pastors

To project a ministry’s trajectory, PASTORIA begins with identifying the pastor’s type according to a “three variable model.”

In essence, the model theorizes that a pastor is a combination of three main emphasis variables of: 1) “me,” 2) “others,” and 3) “principle.”

A “type” is identifiable by the one dominant variable which typically leads to a common set of behaviors, experiences, and ministry results.

1. “Me”

The “me” pastor places a dominant emphasis on how the pastor is treated.

For example, a staff pastor may be adversely impacted by her inability to accept why her supervisory pastor is not treating her with the respect that she deserves.  Another example might be a supervisory pastor who has intentionally filled church leadership and staff positions with those who most readily recognize her authority rather than by their performance capabilities.

This emphasis often results in a never-ending struggle over who is in charge and if all is being carried out appropriately as the nature of ministry is such that not all within the ministry share the same understanding of the place of the pastor.

2. “Other”

The “other” pastor places a dominant emphasis on how others are treated.

For example, a staff pastor may be adversely impacted by her inability to accept how a people of minority status are not treated justly in a congregation.  Another example might be a supervisory pastor who has intentionally filled church leadership and staff positions with those who may never do harm to each other rather than by their performance capabilities.

This emphasis often results in a never-ending struggle to eliminate the ways by which anyone might be excluded and how everyone will be satisfied with the ministry as the nature of ministry is such that conflict and dissatisfaction is necessarily an integral part of life together.

3. “Principle”

The “principle” pastor places a dominant emphasis on how well a ministry reflects a method or model of how ministry “should be.”

For example, a staff pastor may be adversely impacted by her inability to accept why social justice is not the main purpose of the church as she experienced on a mission trip in a different nation.  Another example might be a supervisory pastor who has intentionally filled church leadership and staff positions with those whose background is in business as is the textbooks that the pastor has studied.

This emphasis often results in a never-ending struggle to design internal processes and structure to most accurately align with a method or model as delineated by an expert or textbook as the nature of ministry is such that processes and structure is likely based on tradition or polity rather than any other principle.

Projection

It is important to recognize that each pastor is a combination of these three emphasis variables even as one may be clearly dominant.  At the same time, it is equally important to recognize that each type can commonly experience a resulting vicious cycle that ultimately prohibits ministry innovation.

PASTORIA believes that ministry success (however “success” may be defined) is increasingly a matter of how all three emphasis variables are integrated and adapted for each particular condition rather than what position a pastor has taken on the way ministry ought to be.

In other words, a pastor should not be only one thing or one type.  A pastor should exert a particular set of characteristics for one condition while that of a completely different set for another condition.

The importance of above-mentioned leadership innovation becomes critical to a higher degree in digital-first, post-modern, and multi-ethnic contexts where diversity is a given even while authenticity is demanded.

More will be explained in an upcoming PASTORIA audio guide to be released in late 2019.

For now, the questions that arise are:

  • what must a pastor undergo or learn in order to live out such leadership innovation?
  • is such a diverse set of characteristics also a must for a ministry as a whole as it reaches out to its context?
  • how might a pastor bring about such ministry innovation in an existing ministry that seems resistant?

last updated: april 3, 2019