Our well-worn copy has obviously been around for awhile. Richard Scarry’s best-selling book for children “What Do People Do All Day?” was a favorite when our “kids” were kids. Over and over again, I’d read it to them when they weren’t quite old enough to read it themselves. Now I have the privilege of reading that same dog-eared copy to our precious grandchildren. Okay. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I catch myself continuing to read that book even when the little one’s attention span has reached its limit sending him or her off to play with cars or dolls. It’s fascinating to learn more about what people do all day in their various vocations, isn’t it?
Have you ever wondered what pastors do all day? I don’t recall seeing any pages in Mr. Scarry’s book explaining the pastor’s typical day. No offense, Mr. Scarry, but we have a better book for explaining what pastors are called to do all day. We have God’s authoritative Word. So, what do pastors do all day? Or, more specifically, what has God laid out in the Bible as His expectations for those who take care of His people?
For the last 33 years I’ve lived with the encouraging-yet-sobering conviction that I serve as one of the pastors of this church under the authority of the “Head Pastor” (or “Chief Shepherd” in 1 Peter 5:4), Jesus Christ. One day, Jesus will return. Those of us who are “under shepherds” will then give an account for the souls of the people assigned to our care (Hebrews 13:17). When the Chief Shepherd carries out his review, what criteria will he use in evaluating how we have done as pastors of CCC? This is an important question to me personally as one of your pastors, and I know my fellow CCC pastors are also sobered in thinking about the report we’ll give on That Day.
Well then, let’s look at the “job description” that the Lord has given the church’s pastors. We’ll use the bullet points that Pastor Nate shared in his recent sermon on this subject to summarize the responsibilities of pastors:
- Feed the flock
- Lead the flock
- Intercede for the flock
Since this blog post is too brief to expand on each of these, let me pick just one area of pastoral responsibility: Lead the flock.
The New Testament explains the pastors’ responsibility to lead the church by using a number of different words or phrases, each adding a bit of color to the portrait of pastors as leaders.
- Lead by modeling the normal Christian life for the other members of the church: “shepherd the flock of God that is among you . . . being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).
- Lead by being responsible for “overseeing” the general health and direction of the church: “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight” (1 Peter 4:2). By the way, “overseer” is one of the most common synonyms for “pastor” in the New Testament.
- Lead by “managing” and “taking care of” the church: “if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:4).
- Lead by “presiding” or “ruling” over the church’s affairs: “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you” (The phrase “are over you” is the Greek word from which we get our English words “preside” and “president.”) This word is also used in 1 Timothy 5:17 where it is translated “rule”: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”
- Lead by “shepherding” God’s flock: “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28, NIV). The word “shepherd” was often used as a picture of “leading” in Bible times.
- Lead by, well, leading! Hebrews 13:7 and 13:17 allude to the responsibility of “leading” or “ruling” the church: “Obey your leaders (literally translated, “the ones having the rule”) 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 of no advantage to you.”
So, when the Chief Shepherd returns, we pastors will be held responsible, among other things, for leading the church. He will review how faithful we have been in providing for the overall direction and health of the church in accordance with his revealed will, the Bible.
Being convicted of that sobering accountability, we are proposing that our church’s polity be written to reflect that responsibility of our church’s pastors/elders. When the Chief Shepherd carries out his review, we pastors will not be able to pass the proverbial buck of responsibility to congregational majority vote. It is we pastors who will “have to give an account” for the souls of the people here at Christ’s Covenant Church (Hebrews 13:17). Will you pray for us? Will you support us in this quest of “keeping watch over your souls”?
Thank you. We love you all.
– Pastor Larry