Where are the pastors? Where are the shepherds?

Two lambs cuddled together for warmth
Wherever I go amongst the churches, I hear an aching heart cry from it’s people, “Where are our pastors?” The church at large has benefited from multimedia advances, greater access to training, ministry ‘experts’, modern facilities, and worship bands that could stand comfortably along side many main stream bands. But, with all of this, there is an ache in the church that none of these things satisfies.

For many, the bottom line is that their church leaders have become uncaring of the flock. They’ve been caught up in empire building, management gobbledygook and personal ambition, having neglected their calling. In the words of Jesus, “Feed my lambs … take care of my sheep … feed my sheep.” There is a need to get back to what matters. Leaders neglect their flock at their peril.

I’m not saying that all church leaders are like this. In fact, there are many that do pastor like Jesus. Often, they are under appreciated because they don’t have the ‘charisma’ to compete in today’s culture of celebrity worship. They are godly people that don’t crave for the limelight, but do care sacrificially for the people God has placed in their care.

I am an evangelical, but I despair at the way evangelical churches espouse uncaring, personality driven, ambition orientated leadership. The administrative, management orientated leader has become king to the detriment of the church. From my understanding of Biblical leadership, these leaders fall more readily into the category of deacon, making room for the church elders to fulfill their calling to feed and care for the sheep. Pastoral ministry needs to be put back where it once was. Administrative and management gifts are not wrong, but they do need to be used in their correct place, not elevated beyond their purpose.

When Jesus ministered in Palestine, leaders were known for their overbearing rules, self gratification and disinterest for the common folk. Jesus turned it all on it’s head by spending time with the poor, the diseased, the outcast, the disadvantaged and the ordinary. He touched them, spent time with them, healed them and lifted their burdens. The great shepherd of the sheep laid down his life for the flock. His focus was people.

If you are a church leader who is following Jesus example, I salute you and honour you today. The church needs more like you. If you’re in a church with leaders who do it Jesus way – honour them, appreciate them, show them your love.

However, if you’re a church leader that has espoused the current management and personality trends, repent and do it Jesus way – or get out of the way. Stop hindering the pastoral work of Jesus! The flock needs feeding and caring for.

In the words of Paul, the apostle, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!”