This is the last section of our interview and it hits the heart of his ministry and my ministry. During our conversation he said to me, “How did two people so different end up talking on the phone like this? Only God could have done this.” We laughed about that. But he was right.
TJ and I have walked different paths, but our hearts are in agreement about many things. I love his heart for what he’s doing. During this part of the interview, it was like listening to an inspired sermon. TJ talks about what’s wrong in our churches and how we can change them – especially by changing what’s wrong with the pastors. Hold on tight and get ready to be challenged.
TJ: Jesus Christ did not have a church home. Now this is the radical side of me that I’m about to introduce you to. I’m very orthodox. I don’t want anybody to get paid unless you wrote Scripture. I don’t like it (laughing). I don’t like people making more money off Scriptures than Paul made. I just have a big problem. I want preachers to work.
I want you to be out in the community interacting with people. I don’t want you to be kept away like some really well kept mistress by a congregation. It’s what has happened to this position of pastor and how we have changed it. This is why preachers get in trouble. You cannot take a man and leave him to his own devices, have everyone become subordinate to him, have everyone tell him, “Yes, yes, yes,” and expect that man to say “no” to himself.
FP: That’s right.
TJ: How are you going to expect that man to say no to himself when everyone around him tells him “yes” all day? It’s easy to fall into these situations. It’s easy to get caught up. Because what we’ve done to the position of pastor – we’ve taken this thing and we’ve shined it up and we have placed him in a business suit and a tie – but the pastor is a janitor.
You have to begin to measure pastors on their ability to develop people, not build buildings.
The janitor at your church isn’t walking around in a suit and tie. He has overalls on. He has a uniform on. He has a broom. He has a bucket. How did the pastor go from being the janitor to the CEO? He can’t relate, he’s out of touch, he lives in a fictitious world. There’s this hierarchy that’s created.
You cannot leave a pastor to have absolute rule. That’s not how Christ set us up. They have to be dealt with. They have to be kept on the same level. And I know that’s hard for Southern Baptists, it’s hard for black Baptists, green Baptists and yellow Baptists. It’s hard to keep pastors on a level under authority. They don’t like it.
FP: It’s a lot of ego. It is a perversion. You hear people complain that the churches today don’t look like the early church did. So what do we do?
TJ: The first thing I would do is if I am pastor of a church and I have been a pastor. And I challenge
you to have this conversation with your friends. Have them pick a random member of their congregation, take them by the hand, bring them up to the front of the church and say the following, “Next Sunday I am not going to preach. You will. You have a week to have your message together for Sunday.”
Have that person sit down and grab another one. And for 52 people and 52 Sundays, grab random members out of that congregation, let them know what their Sunday is going to be and tell them to be ready. Because you have to begin to measure pastors on their ability to develop people, not build buildings.
If you have the same preacher standing up there preaching the same stuff every week the people become complacent and lazy. You’re not developing anybody. You’re not growing anybody. So the first thing I would do is voluntarily fire myself by seeing how effective I have been as a pastor. Have I really reached these people? Have I really prepared them? Am I challenging them to go home and read the Bible for themselves? Nothing will do that like randomly grabbing one and letting them preach for a week.
Change the role of pastor from this luminous person who stands up there and is worshiped and adored into a person who sits there and helps this member deliver his message to the world. That’s the role of pastor. Not for him to talk all the time. Paul didn’t do that. Paul said, “This is the guy, this is the guy, see you later.”
How you fix the issue of pastor is you demote him. Now that doesn’t mean he’s not of use anymore. For instance, you went to seminary school. Number two, you have all this experience and you’re prepared. So now develop these people.
And if we do this? Those 52 people you told to preach? They’re going to be reaching out to you all week. (laughing) “Okay pastor, now I need your help, I don’t know if I can do this.” Now you’re preaching. Now you’re a pastor. Share the gospel according to you.
That’s why I go away from my ministry and force them to keep it going. I make these women in this ministry who have been in suppressive environments to keep it going and to talk and keep it going and share and make their contributions to the body of Christ. No ministry, Ray, can be based on one person.
A pastor dies and the whole church falls apart? This church has to be merged into another church? We got to have a hiring? We have to have an interview session for another pastor? You mean to tell me that 2,500 people in this one ministry and you have to have a job posting for a pastor? What has he been talking about for the past 20 years?
FP: That’s a really good point.
TJ: I’m sorry man. (laughing)
FP: No, man. This is gold. This has been great.
TJ and his team run Pimppreacher.com. Please check out his website. You can also hear him on Church Folk Revolution Radio. He’s also an author – go check out his books. You can check out his YouTube channel or follow him on Twitter. Most of all, he’s a great guy. Pray for him and his ministry team.
Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.
If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.
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