“Shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
In my experience, most pastors hesitate to teach the biblical understanding of the role of pastors because to do so might sound self-serving, as though they were trying to carve out a bigger role for themselves in leading the church. This is a serious error for which we are now paying, as many congregations are turning the minister into a hired hand, employing him as an errand boy or treating him as an executive brought in to lead their “country club.”
Pastor, preach the whole Word of God. Be bold in declaring its truth. Then, having done this, go forth and set new standards for humbly serving the congregation. Let them see you leading by serving, and no one will ever mind calling you their pastor and following you. However, lord it over them and dominate the decisions, and no one who knows his Bible will want to follow you.
What follows is the truth on the role of pastors as taught in Scripture. It’s not “all” the truth, for this is but one simple article. However, it cuts to the heart of the issues…
1) Pastors are called by God; they do not volunteer.
“He will send forth laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).
“Rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things you have seen and the things which I will yet reveal to you” (Acts 26:16).
“The Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’” (Acts 13:2).
Volunteers in the pastoral ministry do not last. Those choosing this as a “nice career” or respectable vocation will either bail out for something more reasonable, more profitable or more doable, or they will twist the pastoral ministry into something more suited to their taste.
The work is impossible. The demands are incessant. The expectations are unending.
Only those called by God stick. Even some of them waver until they learn to do it right.
2) Pastors are overseers of the church, not hirelings.
“Be on guard for yourselves, and for all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has made you overseers” (Acts 20:28).
The Greek word is episkopos. Epi = upon or over; skopos = to see. It’s the equivalent of Supervision. Supra = over or upon, Vision = to see.
Pastors are plural. I don’t see anything in Scripture that puts one man in charge of God’s church. (By the way, in Acts 20 they are called both elders and pastors. It’s the same group.)
The church that sees itself as a country club, its leadership as the board of directors, and the pastor as the hired executive answerable to the board, functions as unbiblically and detrimentally to the work of the Gospel as does the operation of the local Jehovah Witnesses kingdom hall.
Unbiblical is unbiblical. Heresy is heresy.