Marty & Sandy Boller
Contemplative Coaches for Busy, Recovering 3-B Pastors.
A REFORMATION IN PASTORAL MINISTRY IS HAPPENING.
“A reformation may be in process in the way pastors do their work. It may turn out to be as significant as the theological reformation of the sixteenth century. I hope so. The signs are accumulating. The vocational reformation of our own time (if it turns out to be that) is a rediscovery of the pastoral work of the cure of souls. The phrase sounds antique. It is antique. But it is not obsolete. It catches up and coordinates, better than any other expression I am aware of, the unending warfare against sin and sorrow and the diligent cultivation of grace and faith to which the best pastors have consecrated themselves in every generation. Discovering the meaning of Scripture, developing a life of prayer, guiding growth into maturity. This is the pastoral work that is historically termed the cure of souls. The primary sense of ‘cura’ in Latin is ‘care’, with undertones of ‘cure’. The soul is the essence of the human personality. The cure of souls, then, is the Scripture-directed, prayer-shaped care that is devoted to persons singly or in groups, in settings sacred and profane. It is a determination to work at the center, to concentrate on the essential.” Eugene Peterson from The Contemplative Pastor.
So what is a contemplative coach for busy, recovering 3-B pastors and why would I need one?
You, as a pastoral shepherd of God’s people, are one of the most important components in God’s Kingdom work here on planet earth. While only Jesus saves, it’s His faithful shepherds who tend His flock, overseeing the day-to-day life of the church and His people called by His Name. Commissioned by the Lord Himself (see Matthew 28-18-20), we pastoral shepherds play a vital role in Jesus’ worldwide plan to save and redeem beloved sons and daughters from a hurting world gone astray.
But something’s wrong in the American Church.
Pastoral shepherds have become distracted. Busy-ness, which eventually leads to weariness and burnout, has taken too many of us off course from the unique Kingdom call on our lives. C.S. Lewis, in his classic book, Screwtape Letters, warned us of such things when he penned his imaginary letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior level tempter named Wormwood.
“There is only one thing we can do. We must redouble our efforts. We must do everything we can to make sure that these humans do not believe in Jesus. And if they do believe then make them lukewarm and too busy with other things to be of any use to Him.”
What is the 3-B Syndrome?
Our own experience (30-plus years in pastoral ministry) has taught us that we pastors tend to define our success in ministry by utilizing what we’ve come to call the 3-B Syndrome. This ugly three-pronged standard for success in the Americanized church utilizes three key tools in measuring our effectiveness (or lack of) in our ministries.
The 3-B Syndrome works like this: In order for a pastor and a church to be ‘successful’, by Americanized standards, we must focus our ministries on the 3-B’s: BUILDINGS, BUCKS, and BUTTS.
If you and I can lead our churches to bigger and better numbers in each of these 3-B’s (bigger buildings, increased giving, and more people in the pews), we are a success. It all sounds great when these 3-B’s are on track. But unfortunately, for those of us who fail or falter in any (or all) of these three arenas of ministry, our net worth as a pastor, and our success as a church, begins to crumble.
In a concentrated effort to avoid failure in the 3-B’s, many of us in church leadership roles have become so busy tending to these three task-masters of success, we’ve lost our way, becoming discouraged and disheartened at our lack of ‘success’ as defined by the American church. Statistics show us that pastors, particularly, are highly susceptible to the fallout surrounding failure in the 3-B’s. One recent report in a nationally syndicated newspaper called pastors an ‘endangered species’.
The average stay of a pastor in an American church is less than three years. The pressure for ‘success’ is very high. Many of us feel so pressured to increase our numbers, we forsake our God-given call as shepherds of God’s people. Trying to become successful ranchers, business managers and CEO’s, we labor busily to develop ministries and programs that will feed the 3-B monster we’ve all created.
Despite the perceived success by a handful of ministries, most American churches are struggling to survive. Shrinking numbers in the 3-B categories leave most pastors questioning their call, growing weary in their well-doing, and becoming luke-warm in heart, mind and spirit. So many of us have so little spiritual life inside us, we wander around aimlessly looking for new ways to become ‘successful’ in ministry. Over time, we grow desperate for answers and are left to scavenge for ‘scraps’ that fall off the tables of those ‘successful’ pastors who have written ‘how-to’ books on growing the church. Sound familiar?
Let’s face it, friends. So many of us pastors are hoping to find that magic bullet which will finally make our churches ‘successful’, we’ve abandoned our First Love of Jesus, leaving us to become burned-out evangelicals with little fire left in our bellies.
Contemplative Coaches for Busy, 3-B Pastors.
As the Holy Spirit has been working these simple truths into our lives, we believe the Lord is asking us to serve you, the busy, 3-B pastor as CONTEMPLATIVE COACHES.
Keep in mind that our role as coaches is not to lead or mentor you into becoming a successful pastor of a growing church. Nor will we coach you into expanding your ministry for the cause of Christ. As we see it, our job will be to encourage you, first and foremost, into your core identity as a precious son or daughter of God. We believe a key breakthrough will be found when you begin giving your full and undivided attention to Jesus’ Great Invitation to His friends found in Matthew’s gospel (Mt 11: 27-30 MsgB)
"The Father has given Me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to Myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen. Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Our sense is that there are many out there who will attempt to make you into a successful leader or direct your church into successful ministry, but few who will focus you explicitly on your own individual spirituality.
If you are convinced that there’s more to pastoral ministry than becoming a successful 3-B leader, building a bigger church or breaking through the next growth barrier, we suggest you contact us and allow us to begin asking you some deeper spiritual questions than “How big is your church?” or “How many people attend your Sunday morning service?”
We believe Jesus, the Master Rabbi, has much more to say to you than we do. And we’d love to assist you in opening up your eyes and ears so that you might stop, look, listen, and respond.TSCTW CONTEMPLATIVE COACHING: ONE-ON-ONE COACHING SESSIONS.