Summary: Discover Jesus’ job description for the pastor.
(Message title and Scripture passage taken from John Maxwell’s series, MAKE YOUR MOVE)
We are beginning a 4-part series titled, “The Dynamics of Church.” We’ll be looking at how God intends His Church to work. Again, when we talk about God’s Church, we’re talking about God’s people living and functioning in community, not as individuals.
The first message is “Let the Pastor Move Over.” Next week, we’ll have a special praise and share service. The second message in this series is “Let God’s Spirit Move In.” The third is “Let God’s People Move Up.” And the final message is “Let God’s Church Move Out.”
Now there are differing views of how the church influences the life of believers. Some view the church is like a school, preparing the people to live life as God intended in the workplace, at home, at school and in all that they do. Those who hold this view put individuals and families first. The church is a training center.
Some, on the other hand, believe that the church is the center of life, and that your work, family, school and all that you do go to support the life and work of the church. Those who hold this view put the church first. For instance, when they plant church in another state or country, their leadership team packs up their entire family and moves to a new state or country. To them, the church is the center of life.
Maybe you’re wondering how I see the church should influence the believer’s life. Frankly, I don’t have a problem with the church being the training center or the center of life. But when the church does not influence the believers’ life at all, then something is wrong with the church.
Someone described those go to church but never benefit from church. They come just as they are. They sing, “Just as I am.” And they leave just as they were. No change whatsoever.
When I first attended church, I was a junior in high school. This was the strange time when teenagers are embarrassed to be seen with their parents, not to mention to be seen shopping for groceries with their parents in San Francisco’s Chinatown. I didn’t see that as cool or a way to impress my friends.
But within a year of going to church, I offered to help carry the shopping bags for my Mom as she bought groceries for the family. I was proud, not ashamed, to be serving my family in that way. The church taught me through messages and modeling that serving one another was a measure of greatness.
On Friday night at the Membership Class, we talked about the benefits of being a member of the church. And before I got far on the list of benefits, someone shared how the church helps us become the person God intended. But allowing the church to help you become the person God intended requires work on your part. And if you are to work, then the pastor must be willing to move over.
I believe that unless you let your pastor move over, you will always be immature. You will always be the “Just as I am” Christians. Now, I’m not suggesting that you terminate me. I make a living being your pastor. So what am I saying? Let me say it with Paul’s words, Eph 4:11-16.
Paul spent the first 3 chapters of Ephesians explaining the Christians what they believe, and he continues in chapter 4, 5 and 6 explain how we are to behave. And Paul begins with how we are to behave in the church, then in the family, and then in the workplace. I believe Paul starts with the church because the church is the community God uses to shape us for every area of life. But if the church is to do that, the pastor must move over. Let’s see if you agree.
First, the pastor must move from performing to preparing. Verses 11-14.
Paul is saying the church does not determine the responsibilities of the pastor. Paul is saying the Pastor’s Search Committee or Pastor’s Relations Committee does not determine the responsibilities of the pastor. Paul is saying that the Pastor does not determine his own job description. Paul is saying Jesus Christ determines the responsibilities of His pastor. After all, Jesus Christ is the one who gave some people the role of be pastor.
But over the years, the church has changed the job description of the pastor. When the pastor is not doing what Jesus intends, at best, the pastor matures, but the church remains an infant. And at worse, the pastor burns out and the church remains an infant. Unless the church allows the pastor to move from performing for the believers to preparing the believers for service, the church will remain immature.