Where Does A Young Pastor’s Authority Lie?
I’ve been reading through Michael McKinley’s Church Planting is for Wimps. Its an encouraging little book for young pastors to trust in the Lord in the work of pastoring, church planting, or (in the case of McKinley) church revitalizing. Many young pastors feel intimidated when they are 25-30 years old and they are expected to teach, exhort, and preach to men and women who have been Christians longer than they’ve been alive, have children older then they are, and have been married longer than their parents. McKinley has some insightful words for these young pastor types (like me):
Without God’s Word, a church has no hope as it prepares to meet this God who is to judge the living and the dead. It has no way to know the gospel in a saving way (Rom. 10:14–17; 1 Cor. 1:21). It has no way to grow in Christ. Without the Word of God, a preacher, especially a young preacher with little history, has no true authority. He might be able to woo them with the devices of the flesh just like any comedian or rock star. But without the Word he will have no true spiritual trust from his people. Why would a church entrust its spiritual good to a know-nothing twenty-nine-year-old? Why would an older man who has been a Christian for twenty years, raised a family, and had a career care what this twenty-nine-year-old says about marriage or children or money or taking up your cross and following Jesus?
But if that twenty-nine-year-old can simply open the pages of the Bible and explain what God himself says, then the church has something with which to work. Then the authority rests not in the preacher or his personal wisdom and experience but in the authority of God himself who has breathed his Word.