Dialogue: Grassroots Pastors Need Care, People Who Care for Them

A picture shows a shepherd herding a flock of sheep by a stream.
A picture shows a shepherd herding a flock of sheep by a stream. (photo: unsplash.com)
By Li ShiguangJune 29th, 2022

The past few decades have witnessed rapid church revival and development. Both the church and its followers have made much growth. However, some problems have begun to emerge. For example, it is difficult for many pastors serving at the grassroots level to get pastoral care from the church, which is common in many churches.

Recently, a male pastor D (pseudonym) from mid-China shared his views with the Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper. D has served in mid-China churches for more than 20 years acting as a grassroots pastor.

In his view, there is indeed a great tension between the grassroots pastors and the leaders of their mother churches, which is an objective fact.

From the perspective of the genegral assembly and its leadership, they believe that the subordinate level pastors should be obedient, and should not make too much contact with other churches or factions, so as not to be influenced by heresy or even cults. But on the other hand, from the perspective of grassroots pastors, the headquarter and its leadership need to give them greater freedom, and cannot regard them as their private property.

D said that in the past, many would talk about their "physical needs", as they tend to be very poor, so ways should be found to increase their income. However, D believes that "spiritual care" is also indispensable.

"Grassroots pastors need to take care of believers with love, but as pastors, they also need to be loved. So who would pastor the numerous grassroots pastors and love them?"

Now the church has also entered the Internet age, and the information is explosive. D believes that the pastors are not short of basic theological training and knowledge anymore. But what's missing?

"I think it is the heart for loving and caring for pastors like their father or mother." He added that the grassroots pastors need someone who can recognize and welcome them so that he could feel accepted like being at home in the process of serving, which has been greatly neglected in the church for a long time.

People tend to emphasize the external things such as administration, system and benchmarking, but ignore the inner love. Without love, there is no power. He explains that local pastors had the heart of serving others before choosing to become a pastor. However, the process of serving becomes difficult because they do not get love and care from the church, especially from those pastors who lead them. Therefore, someone needs to be able to lead and care for them like their father or mother.

- Translated by Oliver Zuo

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