There’s a kind of pride that can lurk in a pastor who appears humble. He might be the very first to admit he’s incorrect, the very first to apologize for impatience, and the slowest to criticize other people. He’s delighted to give young, inexperienced guys the chance to share in ministry responsibilities he might even be open with his flock about his individual struggles with sin. He’s approachable. Every single query is met with a listening ear and an admission of not figuring out almost everything.
And however, all of this can be present in a man who is basically proud—too proud to lead with conviction in methods that will make him much less liked. It is an attitude that communicates a lie: What matters most as a pastor is that you fulfill what other people want you to be.
Although I’m not an elder, I currently see this kind of pride in myself. It is not at all exclusive to these in leadership, and it is a sin that is exceedingly deceitful.
Not all passive pastors are prideful. They might act from a genuine wish for congregational authority, or a nicely-founded worry of becoming authoritarian. Or possibly they’ve worked for so extended that they’ve fallen into a worn-out indifference to the future of the congregation. But irrespective of whether by pride or by negligence, God’s commands to elders can be glossed more than in favor of the flock’s desires. Rather than shepherding the flock (1 Pet. five:two), the elder starts to adhere to them helplessly into their preferred pastures. He’s teachable, but at the expense of becoming capable to teach (1 Tim. three:two). Urging sound doctrine (1 Tim. six:two) turns into suggesting excellent suggestions. The overseer who really should be maintaining watch more than the souls below his charge (Heb. 13:17) and the teaching that he provides them (1 Tim. four:16) can come to be the puppet of these souls, teaching them only what they want to hear mainly because he knows they want to hear it.
If we met the apostle Peter, we’d all be shocked to see how substantially he, a fellow elder, was tempted with this incredibly point. Underneath his bold, rapid-to-speak tendencies, he as well loved the applause of fellow guys. He loved endorsements as substantially as you and I do. If you doubt this, think about how he stood for truth in front of Pilate’s servant girl (Mark 15:66–72), or verify out how his gospel-primarily based, Gentile-affirming principles held up when Jews walked in the space (Gal. two:11–14). And however, below the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, listen to how he exhorts his fellow elders:
So I exhort the elders amongst you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as nicely as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is amongst you, working out oversight, not below compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you not for shameful get, but eagerly not domineering more than these in your charge, but becoming examples to the flock. (1 Pet. five:1–3)
Notice the major command: Shepherd the flock. That is a word image we can understand a lot from. When we consider of sheep, we consider of brief-sightedness, rash choices, and a lack of discernment. They’re prone to wander, skittish, and rapid to run the incorrect way when danger is close to.
But shepherds do not despise sheep for their vulnerability. They care for them proactively. They think about the dangers about, consider by means of methods toward new pastures, assistance the weak, separate the bullies, care for the lambs, and appear out for predators. They do not fulfill their duty by becoming liked by the rams or playing their harps for the ewes or petting the lambs. Rather, they exercising oversight to assistance their sheep locate nourishment, security, and overall health. They know that if they return to the chief shepherd getting lost some sheep, excuses like, “but they truly liked that pasture subsequent to the cliff!” will be self-condemning.
Not Just Any Oversight
Peter tends to make it clear that not just any type of oversight will do. A pastor’s oversight have to have the appropriate attitude: prepared, eager, exemplary. And this is exactly where the analogy of a shepherd reaches its limit, mainly because no sheep ever looked at its shepherd and believed, I want to adhere to his instance. I consider I’ll start off seeking out for danger, as well. A sheep does not do that, mainly because their shepherd is not a sheep. But an elder is an instance mainly because although he’s entrusted with God-offered authority, he knows that he’s no distinct from his flock. He knows himself to be a sinner in require of God’s mercy, in require of his flock’s assistance. So he workouts authority by means of sacrificial appreciate.
Consider about a choir conductor who stops the rehearsal to inform a single singer that he’s out of tune. He require not have written the music he have to only know how to study the music to speak with self-confidence and clarity. Bach’s motet will be performed no greater below a shy conductor who refuses to right the bass than below a conductor who pontificates endlessly more than why he could have written it greater. But here’s the point: Each conductors are misusing their authority. One’s as well passive, though the other’s domineering. Either way, the outcome is the very same: The complete group suffers.
Likewise, the elder who shies away from working out oversight does the church a disservice just like the authoritarian elder who guidelines with an ungodly dominance. The authoritarian might do far more initial and far more apparent harm, but the puppet elder who’s silently ruled by the opinions of other people might do far more harm in the extended run.
Crave Praise from Above
In brief, an elder’s authority have to be carried out with each self-confidence and humility, as each an overseer and an instance, recognizing each his God-offered part and his deep require of God’s assistance.
And humanly speaking, that is not possible, which is why a pastor have to appear to his chief shepherd as the head of the church. He have to let the Lord’s grace fill his heart with awe, and surround himself with folks who remind him of his require for grace. All the things he does to assistance other people to be changed by the Word have to come from a heart that is becoming continually changed by that very same Word.
But most of all, the passive pastor have to comprehend the praise he longs for can not come from guys. It is not circumstantial, and it is not primarily based on the ever-altering opinions of other people. As an alternative, the praise he longs for will be offered by the Chief Shepherd on the final day. It is particular, kept in heaven.
So pastor, reside, teach, and lead as a single who will a single day be vindicated, judged, and rewarded by the slain and resurrected King of glory.