Paul is not shy when it comes humbling the proud. He tells the church at Corinth, known for their wealth and giftedness, to essentially get over themselves. He reminds them (and by direct extension, us) that “not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth” (1 Corinthians 1:26). Paul wasn’t much for elevating the self-esteem.
The church is full of people that the world considers ignoble. This often includes the pastor, elders, deacons, and most everyone else. Unfortunately there appears to be a movement to rid the church of it’s portraits of grace.
The prevailing logic in churches large and small is that shepherds should include a clause in their rider that excludes them from ever having to deal with weak people. The author of this post makes some good points, but the following statement I completely disagree with. He calls shepherds “hirelings” if: “You can only fool the needy people, hurting people, and lonely people. The leaders, strong and young men and women with godly ambition, never enter the front door, and if they do they don’t even pump the brakes on their way out the back door.” That’s just stupid.
Let’s be honest, needy, hurting, lonely people are what make up a considerable chunk of most real churches, and have to be dealt with by a real shepherd. This is not a license for laziness, but it makes no sense to suggest that strong churches will be immediately vacated by the weak. In fact, the self-sufficient and self assured were found in churches like Laodicea, except not anymore because Jesus wiped them out.
So what does the Bible say? 1 Thessalonians 5:14 is a good place to start. I admit that idle, fainthearted, or weak people are time consuming and often yield disappointing results, but with the exception of false-professing weeds, are also part of the body of Christ. Treating them as second-class kingdom citizens is wrong.
Notice how in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 the solution is in the imperatives linked to the adjectives. The good church (Paul addresses the brothers here, not just pastors) will admonish, encourage, and help. This is the work of the ministry, and this is how we use our gifts to edify the body.
Election apparently favors the weak. They cannot become the center of our ministry vortex, and they can’t become the focus of all our attention, but we can instruct each other in how to minister to our own church and keep the corporate health on an upward climb.