Wikipedia defines the term “ivory tower” as a: (derogatory term) of a willful disconnect from the everyday world.
Merriam Webster definitions:
1: an impractical often escapist attitude marked by aloof lack of concern with or interest in practical matters or urgent problems
2: a secluded place that affords the means of treating practical issues with an impractical often escapist attitude
This Ivory Tower definition is exactly what I have experienced first-hand. I have now attended and served in an ivory tower mega church (ITC) with an ivory tower pastor (ITP). My church’s pastor has checked-out — if he was even there to begin with — and an unscrupulous paid staff has filled the vacuum and they are fully in control.
There is no form of checks and balances when one’s pastor is residing enclosed in his ivory tower. Running the business of the ITC turns into a paid staff responsibility and in turn, a staff free-for-all is the result. Free to run amuck unhindered and untethered, with the ability to trample on anyone and everyone who ends up in their cross hairs. ITP’s staff play with lives and souls, so where is pastor?…Where is the pastoral oversight?…It is nonexistent. Where is the justice? Answer?…there is no justice for those who attend an ITC, since the pastor is completely aloof and disconnected…on purpose.
It is not just the mega church pastors with this problem, size doesn’t necessarily matter since this sickness can strike smaller churches, too. It all stems from a mindset of aloofness, formed by an embedded attitude of “I don’t really care to pastor a church”.
As a former ITC leader, I was told by another leader and good friend of mine who put it best, (paraphrased)
The pastors in IT’s have been under review by many — It is time [for ITP’s] to take a step back and take a good-long-look at their operation, including their paid staff. Yet while it is understood why the staff try to insulate (smoke and mirrors) and isolate (from the general public) a pastor and his family from all the negativity that can be hurled at them, it is important for pastors to hear some input from the lower on the totem pole: church volunteers, those that are not a part of his paid staff. Otherwise these pastors are living in an IT and have no idea about life inside the church walls that they are personally responsible for. In this case the ITP’s aren’t really pastors anymore… or are they? How do you lead a flock you cannot see, touch, and most importantly hear?
A Great Quote: “It’s hard to imagine a more stupid, or more dangerous way of making decisions, than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” — Dr. Thomas Sowell
I am going to take literary freedom to tweak Dr. Sowell’s quote here and say: It is hard to imagine a more stupid, or more dangerous way of running a church, than to put power into the hands of an untethered staff, aka a mob, who pay no price for their actions.
Second Image: http://www.coveralia.com/caratulas/Ivory-Tower-Ivory-Tower-Frontal.php
Image: Joan of Arc; Courtesy of: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_of_Arc#mediaviewer/ Archivo:Portrait_jeanne_d%27arc.jpg