This week our small groups looked at the role of leadership in the church. We mainly were looking at the role of the Pastor. Both groups had great discussions and Lord willing we better understand from the Bible the importance of leadership.
Leadership in the church can be a tricky and even risky thing. There is the pressure to want to make people happy and the desire to glorify God above making people happy. The pressure on a pastor sometimes can be enormous.
I am a leader at GCC but I wanted to look at the Pastor from the standpoint of a member of the church. I am a leader but I am first and foremost a member of the church. I am a leader but I too submit to the leadership of our pastor. In this post I want to look at the church’s responsibility towards leadership. In a second post I want to look at the responsibility of the leaders to the members of the church
What does the Bible have to say about this?
The author of Hebrews gives us two exhortations at the end of their sermon. In 13:7 they said:
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
Three things are taught in this passage. First as members of the church we are to remember our leaders. Often the leaders of the church are put on an island away from the rest of the church. We must remember our leaders by praying for them and also viewing them as members of the body also. Second we see the role of leaders. They teach the word of God. They teach us the gospel and their lives should reflect a life changed by it. Third we see we are to imitate their faith. I think we struggle with this one. I know I do. I want to believe I am my own person and I should not imitate anyone. If I am not careful I can think I should not be like Jesus either. But the author says to imitate their faith. If we are going to do this then we need to expose ourselves to our pastor and our pastor needs to be with the members of the church.
The author says we are to remember our leaders (pastor) and imitate their faith. When you keep reading in chapter 13 you will find this in 13:17:
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be no advantage to you.
If we think imitating our pastor’s faith is difficult how much more will it be to submit to him? This is what the author is calling for. He says we are to obey our leaders. Why are we to do this? Because of the immense responsibility they have. They keep watch over the souls of the members of the church and they will give an account one day for how they did this. Wow! As a leader that humbles me and as a member of the church it makes me analyze my life to see how I can humbly submit to my pastor.
We are to obey and submit so we can let our pastor do his work with joy. When they work with joy this is to our advantage. Their joy becomes our joy. We have all been under a boss or leader before who went at their task with merely a sense of duty and no delight. It is painful is it not? On the flip side we have worked with someone who loves what they do. They have a passion for it and they do it with joy. We should be submitting to our pastor in such a way as to bring joy to his serving.
Those are the exhortations. An exhortation is something we obey. This is where the rub comes in. We do not want to obey many times. Have you ever sat in a church service and the pastor has been preaching Scripture and he makes a point and applies it and it steps on your toes? I have. In that moment I do not want to obey what I am hearing I would rather run from it.
May I suggest two things that will aid us in obeying these exhortations? Leadership has been placed in the church by God. The church is God’s and he has placed overseers in it (See Acts 20:28). The pastor is the leader God has placed in his church. We should be very careful about rebelling against a biblical leader because we are rebelling against the God who placed it there.
We should be praying for our pastor. I was reading Psalm 20 the other day. The Psalm is a prayer for the King of Israel. Although this prayer is not about pastors I do not think it would be wrong to pray this for our pastor.
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.
May I have this prayer for my pastor. I want the Lord to answer him in the day of his trouble. I want God to support him. I want to shout for joy about his salvation and rejoice as I see him growing in the faith. We do not trust in chariots but in our God who has placed this leadership in our life.