Posted by: watchman | March 26, 2009

Rev. Michael Scott

iMonk posted on ministering in anger here and it got me to thinking. I started thinking about the insecurities and self-centeredness that often define ministry styles.

One of my favorite shows (and one of my wife’s least favorite) is the Office. I think Michael Scott is a hypnotic character. It’s like watching a train wreck. His narcissism and complete lack of tact is hilarious.

A few weeks ago, I was watching the show and the thought,

“I know a lot of pastors that remind me of Michael Scott.”

It was a strange thought that I did not understand, but I think I am starting to get it.

The uniqueness of the Office comes from the way the show is filmed. The feel of the program is that a TV crew is taping a reality show about an inane paper sales staff. Most of the characters on the staff act as if the cameras are not there. However, Michael Scott is all to aware of the camera. He is constantly looking at the camera and posturing for it.

Of course, his awkward, ignorant way of groping through relational issues lands him in hot water from time to time. His immediate reaction to these situations  is almost always self-centered. He is obsessed less with doing the right thing and more with how to make himself look good.

I’ve seen pastors face very serious issues in the church and I have seen different pastors react different ways. Some respond with a blessed humility and a genuine passion for accomplishing the best for all parties involved. Others, however, respond with a self serving insecurity that often ends up being more harmful than good.

pastoral humility

Look part of the church’s leadership issues are rooted in the church – dysfunctional, messy ways of resolving conflict and adapting to different situations. However, the church is not the only one to blame. Leaders are also part of the problem. There are a lot of ministers out there that are self serving megalomaniacs who see every problem as a threat to them personally. They see their ministry as a monument built to honor their  superiority. They are still trying to impress somebody (parent or whoever) so much that any tarnishing of their self image is the unforgivable sin.

While the church certainly has its issues, too many pulpits are filled with preening self-deluded preachers that look nothing like Jesus. Incubus has a few words for them:

Hey megalomaniac
You’re no Jesus
Yeah, you’re no %&@#*$ Elvis
Wash your hands clean of yourself baby
Step down
Step down

My friend and mentor, Tom, once asked me if I thought I was ready to be a pastor. It was honestly a tough question for me at the time. I told him, “Honestly, no.”

“Good,” he said, ” ’cause as soon as you think you are, you need to step away.”

There is no entitlement that comes with the ministry. In fact, just the opposite. The pastorate is an impassioned headlong dive into the spirituality of other people and our creator. It is a self-crucifying call, not a self serving job.



  1. […] I twittered the fact that I thought a lot of pastors were like Michael Scott in reference to my previous post. My friend Crazy Paul responded Too many youth pastors remind me of Andy […]

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