Saturday, May 29, 2010

Teaching Pastor shepherding ONLY elders??

There's a new book out about Shepherding, that the role of the Pastor is to build relationships with the sheep, to keep close contacts with them in order to watch and encourage real fruit. I haven't read that book, but i did listen to an interview/promotion of the book and it sounded GREAT, a much needed reminder to pastors. A biblical reminder to pastors that they are called not to attempt to emulate celebrity preachers, but are called to shepherd their flock.
HOWEVER through the broadcast was all this emphasis on doing the 'dirty' work of shepherding the people and overcoming the excuses blah blah blah, and when the host asked the guest how he does it, he replied (classically) 'I shepherd the elders & their families'. Well you might ask 'what's wrong with that?' Nothing if you are an APOSTLE, or the director of something, or if you don't believe in the plurality of elders.

  • One problem is that it's kinda hard to teach others about doing the hard work of prying in the lives of others for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of their edification, when you don't have to.
  • Second, If there is a 'plurality of elders' then it's quite difficult for their to be mutual accountability if one person is seen as the 'teacher', whereas there should be the challenging of each other
  • Third, there isn't any scriptural example of such a ministry existing within the local church, where one elder gets to pick the people he will lead by example (The one teaching/preaching is the one who definitely NEEDS to be seen).

Now i know that some would object to the difficulty of doing so or even the impossibility of doing so within larger church contexts, however that doesn't call into question the biblical new testament model, it does however call into question the validity & health of a church that has to adopt new forms of church (whereas many are so large that they operate as multiple churches within a church with one SUPER, irreplaceable, preacher).

The solution? Keep it simple, keep it biblical, promote the glory of God not through corporation like strategies, but through humble, touchable, relational ministry. Healthier churches, not bigger churches and more ministers/laborers not bigger ministries.



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