Over at Kingdom People, Trevin Wax offers some healthy thoughts about the role of “podcast pastors” in one’s spiritual growth and development. It is a complex problem (as he admits) and I like that he upholds (sorta) the biblical model of the local church as the primary means of spiritual growth.
Interesting though that from the first comment, there were people who pointed out that their local pastor was not as good a preacher as the ones he (or she) listens to on the podcast. This reveals a fatal flaw in our thinking with regard to pastors and a result of the ease of connecting via technology. A pastor is called to feed his people by proclaiming the Word in its fullness and pointing them to Christ. He is not called to dazzle the listener with wit and insight. Many podcast pastors become popular because they are witty or deep, but that does’t make them any better than your pastor as long as your pastor faithfully preaches the word.
Here’s the article: Your Podcast is not your Pastor
One final thought: Jared Wilson points out in his comment (it’s the third one down) that there are several reasons people give for not consulting their pastor such as: I haven’t asked him or I can’t/won’t, he (the pastor) is too busy to talk to me, and “I don’t have a pastor.”
These each reveal flaws in our thinking. I wonder how many of those in category two actually tried to talk to the pastor to gain with or tried but the pastor wasn’t available at their convenience. Many times, people interpret this as the pastor not wanting to talk to someone when they simply may not be able to right then.
Those in the first category really have only themselves to blame if they won’t even give it a shot. They certainly can’t blame the pastor.
The final group is a large part of this problem (though I agree with Wax and Wilson that is complex). Many of the “young, restless, and reformed” movement either won’t be pastored or can’t be pastored. I have seen many come through the church where I am pastor. They are often unteachable, arrogant (though they have nor reason to be), and nitpicky. They refuse to be led by a local church or a local pastor but they revere the Driscolls and Pipers (and God help you if you say something that differs from what their favorite podcast pastor said last week).
While I, like Wax, don’t hold the podcast pastors responsible for what their followers do, they would do their followers a great service by encouraging them to participate in a local assembly of believers by submitting to their leadership, humbly learning the Word with them, loving and praying for them, and caring for the saints God has placed there. This is what the Word holds forth as a model for the Christian life.
UPDATE: Someone has pointed out this Team Pyro post from March that hits the nail on the head in this respect (the title will make sense by the end):