Summary: Three responsibilities of pastor / shepherds.
God’s Glorious Church
Pastors: Leading as Shepherds
Woodlawn Baptist Church
March 20, 2005
A survey was recently done as one group set out in search of the perfect pastor. Many people responded, and today I want to share the results with you. According to this study, the perfect pastor…
• Preaches his sermons in exactly 12 minutes
• Frequently condemns sin but never upsets anyone
• Works from 8:00 a.m. until midnight
• Serves as the church janitor and lawn keeper
• Makes $100 per week, wears good clothes, buys good books, drives a nice car, and gives $50 per week to the church.
• Is 28 years of age, and he’s been preaching for 30 years
• Is wonderfully gentle and handsome
• Gives of himself completely but never gets too close to anyone lest he be criticized
• Speaks boldly on social issues, but must never become politically involved
• Has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and spends all his time with senior citizens
• Makes 15 calls daily to visit church members, visits the shut-ins and those in the hospital, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched, and is always in his office when needed
• Prepares three or four inspiring lessons weekly from his lengthy hours in the study.
I have to tell you that if you were looking for the perfect pastor, you got robbed! Today I want to finish this little mini-series that has dealt with the pastor’s role in the church as I speak on the subject of pastors leading as shepherds. We have already considered that pastors are first God-called, then church-called, and that part of their calling is to lead the Lord’s church as a preacher. Today we will deal specifically with the role of shepherd.
Shepherds: What the Bible Says
In studying for this message, what I learned about the role of the pastor / shepherd was interesting to me. The word shepherd or shepherds is only used 18 times, in 17 verses in the New Testament. For example, the word is used when Jesus considered the people of Israel as sheep having no shepherd. They were gone astray. Jesus talked about how in the judgment He would separate the nations the way a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. Jesus told the disciples about how the sheep would scatter when the shepherd was struck, speaking of the way they would scatter when He was crucified. In John 10 Jesus talked about being the good shepherd, and His sheep knew His voice. In Hebrews Jesus is called the great shepherd of the sheep. In Peter He is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, and later in Peter He is called the chief Shepherd.
Of all the times the Bible speaks of shepherds, only one time does it identify pastors as such, and without some digging you wouldn’t even find that one. Read with me our text this morning in Ephesians 4:11-13.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
In verse 11, the apostle Paul wrote that God gave to some churches apostles, to other churches prophets, to other churches evangelists, and then to some other churches He gave pastors and teachers. Without going into a lengthy explanation, the words pastors and teachers are referring to the same man. The word pastors as you see it in your Bibles comes from the same Greek word for shepherds. In Matthew 9:36, the Bible says that Jesus, “saw the multitudes, and was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no (poimen) shepherd.” In Luke 2:8, the Bible says that “there were in the same country (poimen), shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”
Whenever you see the word shepherd in your Bible, you are seeing this Greek word poimen, or shepherds, the same word God used to identify the men He was giving to His churches in Ephesians 4:11. The only exception is found in 1 Peter 5:4, where Jesus is identified as the Chief Shepherd, and that comes from a different word.
Shepherds as Leaders
If you remember our biblical definition of leadership as placing yourself in service to others so they might become what God wants them to be, then you won’t have any problem seeing God’s plan of shepherding leadership in our text. God’s plan for your life is that you be transformed into the image of Christ: that you be Christlike in all your ways. God wants you to think like Him, to act like Him, to hold His values, to feel what He feels, for His passions to be yours, so that when He looks at you He is only seeing a reflection of Himself. God’s plan for shepherding leadership then is that the shepherds are to help you become that reflection. Look at verse 12 with me again. Why did God give shepherds to churches? Paul gives us three reasons that form a progression of sorts.