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Dear Hireling

Mark Driscoll » Church Worldviews Preaching Church Leadership Wisdom Church Planting Calling Executive Pastor

You know who you are. And so does Jesus Christ, the chief Shepherd..

He warned the sheep about you, saying in John 10:11–13 (NKJV):

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

You are the one who has turned a calling into a career.

You are far more familiar with the Bible verses about Sabbath, family, and balance than those about working like a soldier, farmer, and athlete.

Down deep in your gut, you don’t really care as much about reaching lost people because it’s hard, long, tedious work, and you know that no matter how many times you deny it.

You are the one who tries to fit your ministry around your hobbies, pet causes, and other priorities.

You are really good at eating meals and drinking coffee with people for no apparent reason, and then billing the church because you pay far closer attention to your receipts than to your people. 

You are hard to get a hold of and don’t respond to people quickly, and it’s all because you don’t really care that much.

You think that your people are really fortunate to have someone of your ability because you have been formally trained, ordained, started as a volunteer, did something great many years ago, have been around for a long time, or replaced someone even more pathetic than you.

You are the one who, when a wolf shows up, lets him start eating sheep, because the truth is you aren’t concerned about wolves feasting on sheep because that’s what you’ve been doing as their shepherd anyway.

You don’t really preach hard truth, don’t warn your people about danger, and are more like a cowardly enabler than a courageous leader.

You pretty much always get your day off, your vacations and holidays, and far more when no one else is looking.

You say you spend a few days a week (and Jesus knows even that ain’t true) studying for a sermon that still sucks when you preach it because the Holy Spirit will not bless you and his anointing has been replaced by your droning.

You don’t have a long list of sins of commission (e.g. adultery, thievery, murder), but rather, a long list of sins of omission (e.g. not working hard, not doing your best, not loving the people), and this leaves the sheep confused about what to do with their lazy shepherd.

You are really good at making excuses—way better than making solutions and plans.

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.

You are often plotting your back-up plan, where you will go and what you will do if you have to bail, because things get tough and ministry starts to feel like a real job or a real war. If you are stuck with a ministry degree and no real work experience or career options, you will probably try and eke out as many decades as possible of a paycheck signed by Jesus from some church or ministry you can dupe. If you are a bit of a big shot maybe you can talk a lot about God’s calling on you to be unlike Jesus and how he’s called you to use the local church and not love it, leave the local church and not serve it, use sheep and not shepherd them as some fancy full-time spiritual guru who does full-time writing or speaking or consulting or filmmaking or fundraising or cause-promoting as if loving the people Jesus died for were a stepping stone to something bigger and better. 

And, you are probably more upset by this blog post than by yourself—if you even took the time to read this all.

Convicted? You have a choice: you can either repent or resign.

Since Jesus died for your sins, he will forgive and empower you to lovingly serve his people by his grace for his glory.

But if that is not what you want, then resigning is best, as it allows Jesus to send a good shepherd to care for the sheep and fight off the wolves. 


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