Help For Hurting Pastors

It is fact that the Biblical role of a pastor has many man-made expectations and traditions attached to it today, expectations or duties that aren’t wrong in and of themselves, but that are not Biblical expectations…such as visiting the sick or performing marriage/funeral services or conducting business meetings…and on and on it goes with SO many things that aren’t in Scripture.  The many expectations assemblies have of a pastor, and vice versa, serve to contribute to the burdens they carry and hurts they experience.  In truth, one fallible man was not designed by God to meet unrealistic expectations that congregations often have of a pastor.  I know from personal experience having been an assistant pastor twice in my ministry life and having observed the burdens a pastor seeks to carry.

Over the past 10 or so years, circumstances in our lives drove us to the Scriptures to study the role of a pastor.  As a result, the Word of God has given me a growing confidence to share the truth of God’s design with others, especially His shepherds.  And as the design of God is fulfilled for the God-given role of a pastor, a shepherd of His sheep, truly His “yoke” becomes “easy and His burden light.”

Following my previous blog posts and Facebook Live videos addressing Biblical leadership, this post is a pertinent response to a post on Facebook regarding the disappointments and discouragements of ministry.  The original post was a piece that addressed the fact that pastors can also be hurt just like anyone else (true).  Please see my response (in red) along with the points of the meme in bold).

Pastors feel hurt …

“When members of the church leave church without a word…”

There is encouragement from the Scriptures when pastors know…

  1. That Christ, the Creator, is Head and Great Shepherd of His sheep.
  2. That all believers are the church, and that God’s Word ONLY refers to the locality of a given group of believers as being the city (e.g. Ephesus, Thyatira, Philadelphia, Jerusalem, etc) where they live.
  3. That when a believer leaves ‘your’ church, which isn’t actually yours but Christ’s, they are not ‘your’ responsibility but Christ’s.  In fact, they are all His responsibility as the Great Shepherd of the sheep, and a pastor being a believer is also one of His sheep!

“When members who speak badly of them behind their backs…”

  1. A pastor will remember that Jesus said, “Beware when all men speak well of you…” (Luke 6:26)
  2. He will know the Scripture that says “Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:24), that we aren’t to please men but Christ.
  3. He must recall that when the apostle Paul faced negative talk, he rejoiced in the LORD. (Phil. 1:14-18)

“When members who criticize their sermons and never take heed to them…”

  1. A pastor knowledgeable of the Word will remember that Jesus used the sowing of seed to illustrate the Word being sown into the hearts of men, which was the different soils…some hardened, some rocky, some good that bore different amount of fruit.  
  2. He will know that the rocky or hard soil would be consistent with responses of destructive criticism.  Constructive criticism, which is meant to build up and help, should be welcome!

“When members divide the church with gossip and intrigue…”

  1. Again, the church belongs to Christ and He knows how to discipline His children.
  2. When there is false doctrine or division, the Scripture is clear about church discipline.
  3. I’m not sure what “intrigue” is referencing.

“When members have loyalty to another church…”

  1. Again, the church (which is people and not a building) belongs to Christ.
  2. Membership in a modern church assembly is a tradition that is nowhere seen in Scripture. The believers of a given city were all the “church at ______” (e.g. the church at Ephesus).

“When members always complain about everything…”

  1. The pastor will remember that the Scripture tells us “In every thing give thanks…” and will help the member to remember that as well.
  2. He will also recall that verse in Romans that states “overcome evil with good.”  A good word of praise and thanks will be used of the LORD to counteract the complaints.

“When members criticize their faults but never praise the good they do…”

  1. The pastor who knows the Scripture will recall that the Pharisees “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).  Our labors for the LORD are not to be for the praise of men, but “as unto the LORD.”
  2. It must also be remembered that the praise of men can, as they say, “get to one’s head” and result in pride.  Scripture tells us that “Pride goeth before destruction…” (Proverbs 16:18).   The criticism of others, right or wrong, can be a tool to help one remain humble.

“When members who create group chats where they ridicule their pastors…”

  1. Who in ministry has time to go searching chat groups to see if someone is ridiculing them?
  2. Where is the focus of these points but on self?
  3. Where in Scripture is the concept of “their” pastor?  Is this not closely resembling the Catholic priest/parish arrangement in which a fallible man is assigned to a group of people, hence the term “their”?

“When members bring other members to another church…”

  1. Again, to Whom does the church belong?
  2. And, again, what is God’s definition of “local” but the city?  Examples in Scripture are Ephesus, Thyatira, Philadelphia, Sardis, Jerusalem, Thessalonica, etc.(cf. Revelation chapters 2-3).

“When members are apathetic to the ministry of the church…”

  1. First, the pastor must realize that the work is God’s and not his.
  2. Second, apathy to the LORD is all around.  It is to be expected as it (sadly) is the norm.  Only the LORD’s working in one’s heart can bring about the enthusiasm for His work (e.g. Acts 16:1).

“When members always resist changes that are being implemented in the church…”

  1. Again, whose church is this?  Does it belong to the pastor, or the people, or the LORD?
  2. If changes are of the LORD, and people are opposed, then sometimes the naysayers are to be ignored.  If changes are NOT of the LORD, perhaps the naysayers are to be heeded and the particular changes postponed or avoided altogether. 

“When members leave church because of work they landed in answer to their prayers…”

  1. Again, whose church is this? If it belongs to the LORD, then HE knows who needs to be there and who doesn’t.  Sometimes, HE moves a “good” church member to another place where HE wants them to serve.
  2. A church member actually NEVER “leaves church” because he/she IS the church.  The church is people, not buildings.  

“When members leave church because their boyfriends (or girlfriends) do not want to go to church…”

  1. This is truly sad, when assembly with other believers is hampered by the desire for the opposite sex.
  2. Again, since the assembly doesn’t belong TO the pastor, these types of things are not under his control.  Church leadership can work to reach out to the other party to minister and possibly see their salvation / dedication. 

“When members cannot be corrected without leaving the church…”

  1. This is truly sad also, when truth that is preached is chafed against so much so that an individual or family will leave to avoid hearing it.
  2. On the other hand, sometimes what is thought to be truth is preached dogmatically when it actually is tradition.  Members of the assembly who know what the Word actually teaches may leave to avoid making waves.

“When members always give excuses…”

  1. This is between the person and the LORD.
  2. If a member always gives excuses for things, then they don’t really WANT to participate.  That is between them and the LORD, and HE can certainly work in the heart of the believer to truly seek to help.

“When members just quit their responsibilities…”

  1. The pastor remembers that the work is the LORD’s… 
  2. …and if HE wants a particular aspect of the work to continue, HE will raise up workers.  Else, perhaps the particular work is to no longer be, if there’s no one burdened by the LORD to do it.

“When members falsely accuse them of so many things…”

  1. The pastor will remember that our LORD was falsely accused by even the religious crowd.
  2. Since Satan is called “the accuser of our brethren,” the pastor knows that the battle is spiritual and that even Satan’s crowd will be among the LORD’s crowd (aka Judas Iscariot) to hinder the work.

“When members keep a secret hatred for them…”

  1. If it’s a secret hatred, how does the pastor know?
  2. Refer to previous point about Satan’s crowd.

“When members look down on them…”

A servant-minded pastor will see himself Biblically as a server, akin to a restaurant waiter or waitress who comes to a table to take orders or scope out the needs of patrons.  A pastoral role is to serve the LORD and “EPISKEPTOMAI” (“upon” + “to scope”) the needs of the people.  He isn’t there to “rule over” the people (1 Peter 5:3) or to preside as CEO or president of a corporation.  In fact, in all three of the synoptic gospels, the LORD said “such shall not be among you” and emphasized “he that will be great among you shall be your servant.” The aspect of everyone “looking down” on a pastor is just as Jesus Christ, the Head of His church, Who took a bason of water and led by example in performing the job of the lowest servant in washing their feet.  When you’re washing feet, people WILL be ‘looking down’ on you! 🙂

“When members flatter them and never mean their praises…”

All praise should be deflected to the One Who deserves it–the Creator of all!  When that is done, the motives of the flatterer are moot.

“When members are ashamed of them…”

Again, when a true serving role is assumed, the shame is already there to be borne as the lowest servant of all.

“When members celebrate Pastors’ Appreciation month as a month-to-be-good-to-the-pastor-since-we-have-eleven-more – months-to-do-as-we-wish-against-them…”

Has there ever been a “Teacher Appreciation Month” or an “Evangelist Appreciation Month”?  How about a “Servant Appreciation Month”?  Such is not seemly for a true servant.  When a month is spent in gratitude to a servant for serving, the true servant will be grateful for that one month!

“When members too quickly to judge them when they fail…”

This is part and parcel of the pedestal views that is the thrust of the entire original post.  Just as in the days of the Corinthians, who said, “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas, or I am of Christ,” we have men-following exponentially taking place today.  Such wording as “_____ is *my* pastor,” or “I always do what *my* pastor tells me to do” exists commonly today, but is the same as what took place among the Corinthian believers who sided with ‘their guy’ apart from the other leaders.  As God through Paul excoriated them: 

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?  Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?”

“PASTORS CAN BE HURT, TOO!  And if they’re not showing it, it is because they are trying to be strong FOR YOU.”

Certainly, there are hurts in the ministry.  I have experienced many myself and of a surety life is full of disappointments and hurts.  However, when they come, a Biblical view of a shepherd will ease that burden and help the pastor through each circumstance to keep his eyes on the LORD who instructed His servants to “occupy ’til HE comes” (Luke 19:13).

 

COMMENTS IN THE THREAD, ADDRESSED:

(posted again here since it is difficult and time consuming to search and find a thread on Facebook):

HOPE:  “What exactly is your point other than to be contrary? Truth is, for too many godly pastors, pastoring can be a thankless and often discouraging position. As Christians, it is our place to uplift our undershepherds not tear them down. Which is the point of the above post?”

ME Thanks so much for commenting and giving me a chance to explain further. It isn’t my desire to “be contrary.” Rather, to offer another point of view to help others with what I am learning as I have been studying the Scriptures over the past 10 years or so. Having been spurred to delve deeper due to a number of church circumstances, my eyes have been and are regularly being opened to the true Biblical role of a pastor/elder/overseer vs our modern views of such. As I’ve gained in understanding of the Scriptures, it is becoming more and more evident that the prevailing modern views of this particular gift is FAR from what Jesus the Creator designed. So much tradition as to what a pastor is supposed to do factors in to the above meme, which means that the issues involved stem from the traditions of man. I’ll give an example. We have examined a church constitution that refers to the pastor as the “president of the corporation.” I haven’t examined many other constitutions, but I believe this is common wording according to the expectations of entities like the IRS or CLA. As such, the modern church has taken on the role of a business, with a top-down approach that entails levels which mirror a corporation, a company with a CEO, board of directors (aka deacon “board”), managerial staff (aka treasurer, SS supt), operational staff (aka SS teacher, junior church coordinator), employees (aka members), and customers (aka visitors). There’s so much to this and I’ll keep it succinct to get across my point. This top/down approach lends itself to all of the above disappointments, as the expectations are man-made. In short, according to Scripture, the “overseer” is a servant, as we see the word EPISKOPOS (noun, “upon” “skope”) and EPISKEPTOMAI (verb in James 1:27) meaning “to scope out a need in order to meet that need.” It doesn’t work out when we take a servant role and make it into a “boss” role, particularly when a church has a school and the pastor becomes hirer/firer of employees. Jesus (the Head of His church) gave the example of servanthood by taking a bason of water and doing the job of the lowest servant, that of washing the feet of His disciples. What boss / CEO / president of a corporation does the lowest task like that? I would guess none. HOWEVER, there are men who truly are servants. It is just that the business model is often thrust upon them. Others welcome the model and try to “snap the whip” on their “employees.” Nowhere does Scripture refer to an “undershepherd” or any such concept. I beg you to research this for yourself and not take anyone else’s word. There are “shepherds” and “elders” with Jesus being the “Great Shepherd of the sheep” and Head of His body which has many members with each having gifts to utilize in fulfilling their role…just like our physical bodies. Anyway, this is enough for now. Feel free to communicate further on here or PM. Either way is fine with me.

HOPE:  I understand what you’re trying to say. The example you gave isn’t Biblical and there are so many pastors who would agree that that format isn’t Biblical. I am just trying to point out that this post may not be the platform for the discussion you’re trying to have. Most church constitutions do not follow this format. And this post isn’t talking about those kind of preachers. It’s talking about those that have given their lives to the spreading of the Gospel for no other reason than God’s call on their lives. And yet, they still go through a lot of hurt because they are human and iron that needs iron to be sharpened. I understand that you might be frustrated at some pastors’ views of their role in the church. But, that should have been a personal post and not an attack on this post and it’s stance on backing your pastor.

MEOh I back a servant-hearted pastor for sure as they are a blessing to serve with! It’s just that the LORD has brought across our path a number who aren’t, and we don’t care to go back to those assemblies. The meme spurred thoughts on the alternate side, especially since it is rife with the modern view that I described. Just look at the first one: how can it be a hurt to a servant-pastor when a member leaves without saying a word, when the congregation belongs to Christ as the Head? If he (or whoever else) is truly serving the LORD Christ, the Head, his trust is fully in Him Who has the responsibility of working in the hearts of His children. We go to pretty small works, and often see the need to be grateful for even ONE child at a meeting! A servant is grateful to have an opportunity to serve whoever is present, and isn’t responsible for who isn’t there, or those who don’t want to be. Just some thoughts. I won’t argue, but I do pray that people will desire to know God’s design for the role of a pastor. Then, as that is implemented, the main issues that stem from an incorrect view of a pastor will disappear.

HOPE: To answer your question, it hurts because you pour your life into someone and then all the sudden they’re gone. You don’t know why. Saying goodbye to someone you care about is difficult enough when you know why their leaving and even of its on good terms. It’s harder when you don’t know. Questions cross their mind like, “Did I hurt one of God’s people?” “Am I failing my calling?” Questions like these often leave even pastors very discouraged and even tempted to quit. It’s not because the church belongs to the pastor. It’s hard because a good pastor loves the people to whom he ministers. Truth is, until you’ve lived the life of a pastor, you’ll not understand the heartbreak they often feel or see the tears they often shed. I’m only a pastors’ kid, and I see only a sliver of what a pastor goes through, and it’s heavy. I can’t even imagine what those burdens feel like. Bottom line though, this is not the place for your frustration. This kind of mentality that paints all pastors one way because you’ve experienced unbiblical pastoring does not help or encourage good pastors. You got your own Facebook profile for that.

DAVID (with my response–this blog post–in red): 

(D.C) First, Hope is correct, that you expressed thoughts on an alternate side (being contrary) (I should note here that there are two different meanings being expressed: 1. that of presenting another perspective or viewpoint and 2. that of “being contrary.”  These are NOT the same thing.  It is important especially for believers to be able to discuss opposing viewpoints and not “be contrary,” that is, what might also be called “being a pain.”  It is truly a problem if simply presenting another viewpoint is viewed as being “contrary.”  If a student in a classroom setting raises his hand to ask, “But what about ______?” how is that “being contrary”?  All I simply initially commented in the tread was this:

Hmm, interesting piece. I wonder…what if a pastor does those things? What if they not only can be hurt (as anyone), but what if they do things listed above? What if they leave one church for more money or benefits at another, larger church, showing that they were just a hireling and not a servant? What if they use their position as a platform for gaining notoriety by traveling, speaking at conferences or other churches, writing books, not having time to fulfill a God given role to shepherd the flock? Much, much more can be said from just plain experience with some good, bad, and ugly stuff with leadership…what most of the time is swept under the proverbial rug with underlying issues never being addressed, namely because “you don’t speak ‘bad’ against the “man of God” b/c “God appointed him.” Tragically sad. Truth is, we absolutely, unequivocally cannot place ANY person on a pedestal, be they leader or follower.

(D.C.) …therefore you should make it your own personal post because clearly, you #missedthepoint(That is the point of this blog post. While I didn’t read the entire post at the beginning, what I did read of all of the potential hurts prompted my initial questions since the expression was all one sided.  The other side needed to be expressed, that of members being hurt by a pastor.  I could give illustration after illustration, yet will refrain in this post.)

(D.C.) Secondly, there are a few statements you made that clearly show that you DO NOT understand the heart of an undershepherd (Where in Scripture is the “heart of an undershepherd” described, defined, or even referenced?  Nowhere that I know of or found because the very concept of an “undershepherd” is man-made.  There indeed are shepherds, but NOTunder” shepherds.) 

(D.C) …who truly demonstrates the heart of Christ, the Chief Shepherd (which is understandable because you aren’t one)  This is the heart of the matter, as David communicated, and that is his assessment–a division of what one servant of GOD is NOT what another IS, as if one gift cannot be understood, fulfilled, or even possessed by another servant of Christ.  There are evangelists and missionaries and teachers…who “shepherd” others such as their Sunday school class.  The gift of a shepherd, a pastor, is NOT the only gift that God gave to His people.  Ephesians 4:11 in particular references 5 gifts, and others are mentioned in passages such as Romans 12:5-8. 

Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 

David clearly passed a “judgment” upon me that he cannot know–that I don’t have the “heart of an ‘undershepherd” because “I’m not one.”  I believe David  missed a Biblical point that God commanded us not to judge another servant.

(D.C quoting ME) “how can it be a hurt to a servant-pastor when a member leaves without saying a word, when the congregation belongs to Christ as the Head?”

(D.C) Yes, the congregation belongs to the Lord, but that under-shepherd (Again, there is absolutely, unequivocally NO concept of UNDER-shepherd in Scripture.  It is a man made term.)  …will account for the flock.  (What does it mean Biblically to “give account”?  Is this akin to the Catholic pope of whom it is said that he answers directly to God on behalf of the people?  The terms David used are taken from Hebrews 13:17.

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

1. Not once in the entire context of Hebrews 13 is a term for pastor/overseer/bishop/elder referenced.  It is assumed based upon the above wording, “them that have the rule over…”  Yet, we see in 1 Peter 5:3 that a bishop is instructed not to “lord [rule] over God’s heritage.”

2. The words “as they that must give account” are translated from the Greek HOS LOGON APODOSONTES, that is “as [an] expression [LOGOS] to give from/back.  The same word is translated “reward” in Matthew 6:6 & 18

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

“That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

…and it is translated “perform” and “paid” in Matthew 5…

Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. (5:26)

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: (5:33)

The meaning is to “pay back an answer” as to how they did their job of leading “among you.”  In short, there is MUCH that needs to be expressed about Hebrews 13 which is contrary to modern ideology, which will be in a future post.  Suffice to say, again, that NOWHERE in the chapter is the specific words for the role of a pastor/bishop/overseer/elder referenced.)

(D.C.) …A good undershepherd (again, a misnomer) will invest so much of his heart, blood, sweat, and tears into the flock and he knows that he is responsible to Christ as a steward of the flock, while Christ is still the head.

Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. 

(Again, neither this verse nor the entire passage references an overseer, elder, or pastor.  The words “have the rule over” is translated from one Greek word pronounced HAY-GEH-OH-MAI, which means “have the leadership” or “are esteemed.”  It is translated as “Governor” in Matthew 2:6 and 10:18, as well as “think” in Acts 26:2  “I think (esteem) myself happy…” or “esteem” in Philippians 2:3 “…in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves.”  In other words, the verse in Hebrews 13 isn’t referring to ones who “rule” over, in the sense of individuals who rule like a king, who demand and others must obey.  Rather, it is referencing those who are “esteemed” among the believers, which are indeed a “them” (plural) and NOT a singular individual OVER others and UNDER the Great Shepherd, the LORD Jesus, as the modern idea and misnomer of “undershepherd” is often taken to mean. 

(D.C.) A godly pastor should be investing in the lives of the flock and when one leaves without saying a word, that pastor hurts because he has a heart for that member of the flock that has been entrusted to him.

This all sounds nice, but it isn’t a Biblical concept. Likewise, a member of an assembly can hurt because of a lording pastor who pushes them out.  A godly shepherd will indeed shepherd according to the design of God, but alas, that role and the terms for it are noticeably absent from Hebrews 13.

(D.C) Then you said that the pastor “…isn’t responsible for who isn’t there, or those who don’t want to be.” Again, clearly this is a wrong view.  Again, the modern view called “undershepherd” is unBiblical and therefore wrong, which is the focus of the original post.  Those who aren’t present, though they may be “members” of the organization, clearly don’t wish to be a part of the flock.  Hence, it is the same as in a special meeting.  Many may be invited, who for whatever reason aren’t present.  It isn’t *my* responsibility who is NOT there.  I am responsible for the “shepherding” of those who ARE there.  It is up to the Great Shepherd, the LORD Jesus, to shepherd HIS flock…which is His Body, all believers.

Pr 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.  This verse has nothing to do with the overseer in a New Testament church.

(D.C) Yes the undershepherd IS responsible for who isn’t there, NO and for those who don’t want to be there NO. He is to know the state of the flock and he is to look well to the herd WRONG APPLICATION. Furthermore, shall we search the heart of the Chief Shepherd found in Matthew 18 (this is the LORD Jesus, the Great Shepherd, NOT a so-called UNDER shepherd)?

Mt 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Lu 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

(D.C) A good undershepherd [made up misnomer] understands the gravity of a lost sheep [the application is to the LORD Jesus seeking the lost, which is you and me.  This is one of the issues with the undershepherd view which places a fallible man in the stead of Christ AND “over” others AND “responsible” for others in some fashion.]…

(D.C) …one that goes astray or one that leaves the flock. One member may go without a word and it hurts because the undershepherd finds great value in that one sheep…as he should, even if that one sheep is disobedient. The principle (this is an idea that is made up and nowhere to be found in Scripture) is that a good, godly undershepherd (again, a made up term and a misnomer) IS responsible for who is and who isn’t there if they were a part of the flock because each sheep is valuable. (This is the job of the Great Shepherd and not to be usurped by a fallible man.)

(D.C.) Having been a pastor for going on seven years now I have had my eyes opened (It is truly eye-opening to see what GOD says concerning those who lead HIS sheep, and we clearly see His design in His Word…apart from the fallible ideas of sinful men who have misinterpreted His Word.  Experience, while it can be valuable, is NOT the standard.  ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God…literally “God breathed”… and the issue is what HE said is the role of a pastor, a shepherd of His sheep.  I too have had my eyes opened, as God used a number of lording “pastors” to open my eyes to what the Scriptures ACTUALLY say.

(D,C.) …my heart has been hurt, and I have learned that sheep have teeth (I too have had my heart hurt and experienced that pastors have teeth when they seek to function in a manner in which God didn’t design, that of being “large and in charge” (LIC) like a CEO or president of a corporation.) 

(D.C) …and when sheep leave for any reason, good, bad, or indifferent, because I love the sheep, it always hurts. (It also hurts when a pastor pushes out people from an assembly.) 

(D.C) I asked this question to several pastors that have mentored me (I would ask, “Who is the authority?  Your mentors or the Scripture?),

(D.C.) “Does it always hurt when people leave, whether it’s for good reasons or bad?” Their answers have always been “yes” and they told me that my heart hurts because I clearly have a pastoral heart. (I likewise would say that I too have a pastoral heart because I care for the people left behind in the church that is being lorded by a business/CEO/president-type “pastor” who pushed us out for whatever issues or reasons.)

(D.C) I have served Christ in the same capacity as you, an evangelist, for nearly 20 years, and now I serve Christ in the capacity as a pastor and until you have walked in the shoes of a pastor, (This man doesn’t have a clue the “shoes” I have walked, and vice versa.  We must not “compare ourselves among ourselves” and thus be unwise.)

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Cor. 10:12)

(D.C) I would suggest you put your comments toward a relevant post. (Hence, again, the purpose of his post) 

(D.C) The post I shared was to empathize with other pastors because I have been there and to encourage them that I’m praying for them. Maybe you should do the same, have compassion for pastors rather than being critical of them (see #7 listed on the post).  (David doesn’t realize that I AM showing concern for pastors, namely that they realize the design that God has for them.  He also likely needs to empathize with those who have been hurt or offended by lording pastors, and to realize that there is another side to the issue.  Either way, the WORD of the Creator is the standard for us to follow…not mentors, commentators, or other leadership in an assembly, nor our opinions, and especially not false ideas about the Scriptures…such as the idea of an “undershepherd.”

(D.C.) With that said, I shall comment no more. (This is the worst of all, an “I’m done” attitude that won’t listen to reason or Scripture, that won’t respond.  It is especially sad for a pastor to reject clear Biblical teaching.  This truly is the tragedy of it all, that mentors and misinterpretations take precedence over the design of the Creator.  It IS important to empathize with others, whether a pastor, missionary, teacher, deacon, OR an evangelist.  If this pastor truly had a pastor’s heart, he would be willing to listen and reason, NOT simply spouting his opinion and leaving.  This type of response is what I call a “drive-by” and in my opinion is not a Christ-like spirit of .  It is high time that men and women of God delve into what “thus saith the LORD” and learn what GOD intended to communicate in His Revelation to mankind.  Then, we must seek to incorporate that design into our lives and assemblies.  As such, the fallible opinions and traditions of men need to be set aside and that which is NOT according to the design of God thrown into the trash. 

Honestly, I feel for men like this, who apparently do not know the design of the Creator, the LORD Jesus, Who Himself said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Each of us has a choice to make, as Ken Collier of the Wilds put it so well:  “There are two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self.”  As we choose to please God and follow His design, the challenges of ministry become easy and light.  As we look into His face, turning our eyes upon Him, the song says “the things of earth will grow strangely dim…”  Ministry WILL have disappointments and hurts, and by that I mean ALL believers, since every one of us has a gift to be used in ministry.  Both leadership and ‘regular’ members of assemblies (who ALL have been gifted to serve the LORD) will have challenges, disappointments, hurts, etc.  HOWEVER, through fulfilling the design of God as a servant, the focus is taken off of US and placed where it should be all along:  our Savior, the Great Shepherd of the sheep. 

I will finish this post with a link to a series of classes on Biblical leadership taught by my father-in-law, Ken Sheets, the summer of 2021.   Brother Sheets has a science background (chemical engineering) and an analytical mind that he applies in diligent study of the Scriptures, with a focus on developing understanding of the text as God gave it in the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.   The design of the Creator for how His people should  function is an extremely important issue to the people of God!  It is critical that men of God tasked with leading the people of God seek the design of God for how they must lead!

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