A Jagged Contention: Religious Economics

“Our vocations [as pastors] are bounded on one side by consumer appetites on the other by a marketing mind-set. Pastoral vocation is interpreted from the congregational side as the work of meeting people’s religious needs on demand at the best possible price and from the clerical side as satisfying those same needs quickly and efficiently. These conditions quickly reduce the pastoral vocation to religious economics, pull it into relentless competitiveness, and deliver it into the hands of public relations and marketing experts.”

– Eugene Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant. Pg. 3


Peterson rightly fears that the pastoral ministry is being reduced to a mere religious job which offers goods and services. What can pastors do for congregations to teach them the purposes of the pastoral ministry? What can congregations do for pastors to make sure they don’t reduce their vocation to a mere commodity?

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