2. Are there people called to lead congregations who don't have the gift of teaching? One of our most effective campus pastors at Seacoast is a former farmer who has no formal theological training, can't spell expository, but is incredible at helping people to grow in their faith. If he planted a church on his own he would be able to minister to very few people; because he doesn't have to preach he is able to pastor a congregation of over 600 people.
Are there people called to lead congregations who don't have the gift of teaching?
There are no people called to lead congregations who don't have the gift of teaching.
Now, before everyone spits out their morning coffee and writes me an angry comment, let's remember: One of the qualifications of an elder/overseer (a word used interchangeably in Scripture with "pastor") is that that person "be able to teach." (1 Tim 3)
I know what you mean when you say "gift of teaching", though. At least, I can infer (maybe wrongly) that you mean someone who is good at it... good enough to draw a crowd.
And here again is where our models may differ. I certainly don't want people who teach poorly to lead our discussions on Sunday... but biblically, I can't allow people who can't teach to lead our community as elders/pastors. My duty then is to make sure that those who are called to lead are given the opportunity to develop in this area.
I'm not advocating that one person be the only teacher in a community, though I can definitely see a role for one person being the one who ends up teaching a good chunk of the time (In our community, this is me... Statistically I have spoken at just over 75% of our gatherings since we started. But my strong desire is that this number decrease to somewhere around 60%... I want when we are able to get Chris, our associate pastor on board half-time- and eventually full-time- that he begin to share more of this load with me and bring more of his unique self/perspective/gifts to the community. This is something I haven't put on him too much since he's been working full time and to do this well it takes preparation... Rich (our worship pastor) as well and whoever plants out of evergreen and people who are elders and potential elders and so on...) I think it's possible that in a group of elders one person becomes more of the shepherd, one more of the teacher, one more the administrator, etc.
But it's a biblical qualification- can't teach? Shouldn't be a pastor.
We could go into a lot of the reasons why that might be... But suffice it to say that if someone feels called to lead, but can't captivate a thousand people with his or her speaking gifts, rather than sending them out with a video tape of someone who can I'd like to think we could re-work a couple of our expectations and do some things which make it a workable scenario without resorting to video feeds.
1. Rework our definition of numbers success. I have no idea if my speaking could captivate thousands. The most I have ever spoken to was four services of about 700 a piece. I did okay. :) But at evergreen, I don't have to worry about it. We've set an upper limit on our growth (somewhere under 200). We grow, and then we plant. We grow more- we plant more. I don't need to find people who can preach like Spurgeon! I just need to find men and women who love God, love people, can teach in a somewhat larger than home-group setting and set them loose. That's makes it a whole lot easier because for every person who can speak to thousands, there are literally multitudes who can lead a dialogical teaching time with between 30 and 150 people. I'll bet with some experience and some coaching, Goeff's former farmer would do just fine!
2. Rework our method of training. "Pastoring" has always been on the job training. We (should) send people to seminary for formal theological education- not to learn how to shepherd and teach people. Rather than in the classroom learning to shepherd and teach people should be done in the context of... shepherding and teaching people! I know the pressure that exists as a community gets larger... as we grow, it's harder and harder to turn the "pulpit" over to those who might not teach as well. But it's a necessity. So the solution? This seems easy to me- Through planting other communities, keep your community from growing to a size where you can't let a college-aged student or seminary aged man or woman teach, where you can't let someone who feels they may be called to be an elder someday (or now) not only lead and love people, but teach them as well.
(I knew this would be a temptation for me... to not do this... so right off the bat, shortly after we planted, we did about a month and a half of people other than me speaking. We did it again last Jan/Feb... We're now re-tooling that a bit. Rather than a block of time where others speak (say for a month or more) I'm trying to schedule others in once a month or so to speak.)
3. Rework our planting model... pair those who teach well with those who can teach, but don't want to do it all the time or who don't feel it is their main gift.
I know that there is more to "teaching" than taking the pulpit on Sunday mornings. But, one of my main concerns about Video Venues is this:
If we plant a community led by a person who can't preach, and taught by a video feed from elsewhere, aren't we making it nearly impossible for that community itself to equip, train and develop people who can preach? How would they do that? And even if they can and do, why make it harder?