SGBC Modesto

Your Pastor is to Lead

March 4, 2024 by

William Heinrich

A pastor faces much opposition to his God-given responsibility to lead. Those who do not get their way will cry, “He won’t listen,” or “He is lording himself over his flock,” etc. Some say the sole area of his authority is God’s Word. When preaching or teaching, he is the leader and can speak with authority; however, he is to lead and set an example in all he says and does.

There are three different New Testament Greek words we are given in Scripture to help explain the pastor’s role: elder, bishop, and pastor. Elder describes a person who is characterized by maturity and dignity. Bishop describes a person who is charged with a duty or function of supervision. Pastor is a person who leads and cares for sheep. All three words are given for the same man and are not ever three different people (Acts 20:17, 28; I Peter 5:1-2; Titus 3:5-7).

The pastor as a teacher should stand out among other teachers because of his gift from God (John 21:15-17). In John 21:15-17 Jesus tells Peter to shepherd his flock. Twice He says, provide them food. And once He says something more broad, like guide (lead) or guard the flock. Peter was to feed and lead.

Many pastors are Timid Timothies in the area of leadership. They may be warm hearted, expository teachers, but they lack the authoritative leadership required of a shepherd. Their ability to lead is absent for one reason or another.

A leader has a vision of where he is going and expects his church to follow him. He gets his vision from God’s Word and a close walk with the Holy Spirit. He believes since God made him a pastor and the pastor of a church, then God will plant His vision for the church in him to pass on to his flock.

If all this is true, a pastor will be sensitive to the manner in which he leads in order not to be a lord over those entrusted to him. A leader and a tyrant are polar opposites (2 Timothy 2:24-25). This requires a delicate balance between kindness and patience on the one hand and authority on the other (Hebrews 13:7, 17).

The church board is not the leader; neither are the deacons or a troublesome family that has been in the church for two or three decades.

If you are a pastor, feed and lead. If you are one of a pastor’s sheep, eat and follow.