CHURCH LEADERSHIP SERIES LESSON ONE: PASTORS
When one thinks about leadership in the church, the position of pastor usually seems to be first that comes to mind. It’s because the pastor has the calling to spiritually nurture his flock and lead his sheep in the ways of the Lord. This image of flock and sheep leads us to the actual meaning of the word pastor. Did you know the word pastor actually means shepherd? A pastor then must:
FEED HIS FLOCK: (John 21:17) . . . Jesus said to him (Peter), “Feed My sheep. This means teaching the Word of God to them. This includes preparing and delivering messages and which should occupy the main focus of his ministry. Getting other people to do some of the administration and service of the church then is essential to maintain this emphasis (Acts 6:1-7).
TEND HIS SHEEP: (John 21:16) . . . He (Jesus) said to him (Peter), “Tend My sheep.” A shepherd must not only feed his flock, he must also tend to them. This means he must care for their spiritual needs. He must have a listening ear, a compassionate heart, and be willing to make sacrifices for others. (1 Thes 2:1-12) He must not seek to build his own empire but humbly serve the people God has put in his care. (Mark 9:33-35)
LEAD HIS SHEEP: (Psa 23:2-3) He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. A pastor leads his flock both by precept and example. He also practically leads them in the ways of the Lord and what would be the best for them. This involves much prayer and wisdom and sometimes making hard (and sometimes unpopular) decisions.
PROTECT HIS LAMBS: (Acts 20:28-30) Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. The devil seeks to devour the flock of God. The pastor therefore must be vigilant against this attack through prayer and discernment (1 Pet 5:8-9). He must guard his flock against wolves in sheep clothing (Mat 7:15) and from false doctrine (Jude 1:3) and ungodly influences (1 Cor 5:1-8) that would infect the church. The pastor may need to take the lead in church discipline and sometimes even the excommunication of troubling church members (1 Tim 1:20).
Pastors are gifts to the body of Christ from Jesus Himself for the spiritual maturity of the flock and the equipping of saints for service. (Eph 4:7-16) The greatest gift a sheep can give to their shepherd is to pray for him and his family and seek to be supportive in any way possible. This will lighten his load considerably so he may keep to his task to shepherd his flock as under the Good and Chief Shepherd Himself. (John 10:11; 1 Pet 5:4)