Pastor Mainwaring

In Thetford, this summer, I was delighted to come across a statue of Arthur Lowe playing Captain Mainwaring from the 70s’ TV hit Dad’s Army. He is the commanding officer of a fictional Home Guard unit. A snob, yet of a humble background, he is not known for competence or excessive charm. It is easy to ridicule the character and to unfavourably compare him to the junior or middle managers with whom we must work. There might also be the odd church leader whose Christian career resembles the blustering and pompous stickler. Of course, a comedic character must have personality flaws, or he wouldn’t be funny; the real-life versions are often rather annoying as they seldom occupy a mere half-hour, weekly slot, which we have the option of turning off at will. Some pastors are more competent than others; some may appear to be pedants with whose views we might be at odds. Still, it was thousands of Captain Mainwarings who kept us safe, or kept us feeling safe, during the 1939-45 war; even a bumbling, fussy or pompous pastor may offer a reasonable service to God and helpful ministry to others.

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. 1 Thess. 5:12-13