The pastorate has changed more then a little in my lifetime, both for better and for worse. One area of improvement is preaching. Granted that too much preaching is still shallow and more fluff than food, a growing segment of the clergy is more dedicated to solid study and preaching. The silly, shallow, and embarrassing cheap sermon can still be heard, but it is losing ground to solid Biblical preaching. We do need more of the approach of the church fathers, who went through entire books of the Bible week after week, and who gave to the church a very sound knowledge of Scripture.
An area of decline has been pastoral visitation, the regular calls on all families and on shut-ins. Some pastors do almost no visitation. Granted, this is time-consuming work, but it is necessary. In one church, I had a happy solution, elderly women who did excellent calling, and an old and very wonderful former Scottish elder and his wife, who called faithfully and told me of any person or family needing my attention.
Clearly, if all the work is left to the pastor, he will be overworked and at times pushed into a premature retirement. Churches need to examine the pastor's duties and to see how the work can be best accomplished.
One value of the participation of others in such tasks is that it carries weight for people to see members actively involved in the church's work.
The congregation should be encouraged to pray for the pastor and the volunteer helpers. The church should provide all with some training, certainly beginning with Sunday school teachers.
In one church, we had excellent results with monthly written tests for all Sunday school students. We made it clear that we were not simply baby-sitting the children!
I do believe that the pastor should be relieved of most administrative duties. In some young churches, he is the secretary, the treasurer, the janitor, and the groundskeeper! Little time is left for his main duties. It is time to rethink some of these things.
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.