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Brothers, We Are Not Kings!

Senior pastors, beware of making yourself the virtuous David, and your associates the treacherous Absalom, just because they have the capacity to do great things for God, and happen to want to be a senior pastor some day.

You want to be a senior pastor, don’t you?

Seriously. Don’t you?

Didn’t you want to be a lead pastor?

Isn’t your desire to do it a huge part of the reason you’re doing it?

Why ascribe twisted motives to the men who work with you because they want to do what you want to do?

Why are their motives twisted and yours pure?

He that desires the office of an overseer desires to do a good work!

But wait …

Associate pastors beware of making yourself the virtuous David, and your senior pastor the vile Saul, just because they are trying to help you grow and putting necessary controls and structure into your life.  

You don’t know everything do you?

You could learn a few things from the pastor you’re now working with. So learn, but don’t throw your vision to lead away. It’s God-given. It’s not evil to want to lead people in the Kingdom of God. It is evil to want to rule them as though the church is your kingdom. And it’s evil to go around telling yourself and everyone else that you would be a much better pastor than your pastor if only you could be in charge.

See. All this thinking like kings who either sit on the throne, want to inherit the throne or are trying to usurp the throne (the throne—known as the lead-pastor position in the church) creates a sick mess!

We are all under-shepherds. There is no “senior pastor/associate pastor” language in Scripture. If you’re looking for a model, use Paul and Timothy. An older brother who took a younger brother under wing and released him to fulfill his great potential, instead of building his personal kingdom on the back of a gifted young man while chiding him for having his own sense of calling and vision and giftedness.

The church is not to be envisioned as a Kingdom over which the pastor is King. Rather, it is a pasture with sheep that need a shepherd who knows how to take care of them and feed them.

You, dear brother and friend, are not a king.

The church is not your kingdom.

The pulpit and sanctuary (or worship center, or auditorium, or whatever you call it at the church you serve) is not your throne room.

The associates are not your servants, and the congregation are not your subjects.

Brothers, we are shepherds. We are not kings.  

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Kenny Burchard (M.A. New Testament), his wife MaryJo and their son Victor live in Virginia Beach, VA. Before his family's journey of reconciliation with the Catholic Church Kenny served for 20 years as an ordained Protestant pastor, worship leader, church planter, and Bible teacher. Kenny is the host and curator of the Metastory.org podcast and blog, and is a regular blogger at ThinkTheology.org. You can follow him on twitter @kennyburchard.