missionary“The day of the professional minister is over. The day of the missionary pastor has come.”

Those are the opening sentences of Effective Church Leadership by Kennon Callahan. What a striking line. He writes it not as a striking prophecy of the future, but as a gentle confirmation of something that has already come to pass.

We have two choices. We can embrace a romantic longing for a church culture of the past… like some Jane Austen novel where clergymen inherit a “living” that has fallen vacant (i.e. an open pastor’s job where the previous pastor has died). Or we can accept the current reality of ministry in practice rather than in formal position– a kind of pastoring that is more about finding new sheep while caring for the existing sheep.

As important as caring for existing sheep is, the sheep population is diminishing dramatically. We need to focus on following the mandate of Jesus to make new disciples.