Talking With Sheep
It’s kind of interesting when you stop and think about how confusing church titles and leadership can be sometimes. Pastor, teacher, minister, junior associate intern to children’s ministry…it get’s confusing. I’d like to ask one question when it all get’s down to it. The person who is over you, your pastor or maybe your student pastor if you are a student, is he pastor to you or is he a preacher to you? Let’s unpack that a little bit.
Let’s start with a preacher. There’s no way to deny the need for preachers. Mark 16:15 says, “…go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” I believe in the call to preach the gospel but I also think there are a lot of misconceptions about what “preaching the gospel” is. I think too many times we associate a good preacher with someone who is good with words and has spiritual implications. You can easily look around to see that. Churches are packed every weekend because someone is good with words. I have a quote hanging in my office that says, “a preacher that doesn’t teach the whole truth may be loved by his people, but does not love them.” Think about that for a moment. Are your ears tickled in your church? That’s a dangerous place to be.
Now, let me be clear. I don’t think that churches everywhere have bad preachers. There are Godly men every weekend preaching the biblical gospel. We desperately need more!
I want to talk about a pastor now. A pastor by definition is a shepherd. A shepherd looks after his flock, nurtures them, feeds them, and rescues them. Even though many times the sheep will bite and fight all the way. There are many examples throughout scripture of this idea. (John 21:16, Acts 20:28, 1 Corinthians 9:7, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 5:1-2 just to name a few) I’ve known some great pastors in my life. I serve under a great one now. A good pastor can draw something out of you that you may not have even known was there. The thing I love most about a pastor is the biblical lifestyle that seems to follow. A great pastor may not be the best communicator but can teach the biblical love of Christ on a day to day basis through their actions. A pastor will preach the gospel from a pulpit or stage on Sunday and then break it down for you over lunch on Tuesday. A pastor lives in the ministry he’s a part of but too often a preacher has the luxury of making some bold statements and not having to deal with twenty-seven emails from upset members.
If you have the blessing of being a preacher, I support you. I encourage you to speak the truth in love and to always preach the gospel. If you are a preacher that has the title of pastor, I encourage you to do some self examination and ask Christ, who was the best shepherd by the way, to help you to become more like Him. If you are a church member ask yourself if you have a pastor or a preacher leading you. Take everything he says to the word of God for comparison. If you have a good preacher that preaches the bible, praise God and thank God for him. Pray for him, encourage him constantly. If you have a pastor, a biblical, shepherding pastor, I’ll say the same; pray for him, encourage him, but I’ll also add follow him.
Don’t put much weight in titles, they can be deceiving. Find a man of God who preaches/shepherds biblical truth, even when you don’t like what they have to say.
This may seem like semantics to you but here’s where the rubber meets the road: discipleship will more likely come from a biblical pastor than the best of preachers. That’s what is about, becoming more like Christ daily.