One of the Strongest Links in the Chain of Ministry Partners in the Church
Greetings and blessings in the name of Jesus, friends. It would be possible to continue indefinitely I suppose on the various roles of individuals in the Church of Jesus Christ, besides all those servants already described in previous blog posts and going on after the Local Church Pastor to Committees and Committee Members, Local Church Boards, Classroom Teachers, Deacons, Elders, Local Church Officers and Ministry Directors, Members, the Pastor’s wife, the District Superintendent’s wife, SWD Board and Ministry Directors Spouses or families, etc. However, in this final General Conference Church of God (Seventh Day) Southwest District, GC COG7 SWD, Ministry Partner focus, I want to focus on the Local Church Pastor.
The strength of the Local Church is often found in the strength of the Local Church Pastor. If the Local Church Pastor is Focused on Jesus and Following His Plan, the Local Church will likely, at least eventually, be Focused on Jesus and Following His Plan. If the Local Church Pastor is focused on details of lesser concern, the Local Church will likely be focused on details of lesser concern. It is profoundly important to keep priorities straight, to keep the main thing the main thing. As a shepherd cares for the flock, guiding the flock, usually by leading, to fresh water and green meadows, protecting it from harmful predators, and calming fears that arise within the fold, so must a Local Church Pastor care for those entrusted to him.
Yes, one of the strongest links in the chain of Ministry Partners in the Church can be the Local Church Pastor. However, a slothful or wicked servant professing himself to be a Local Church Pastor can be the most damaging and hurtful individual a person attending a Local Church could ever encounter. The role of a Local Church Pastor often resembles the father of a family, at least in a smaller family Local Church of less than a few hundred, which describes the bulk of Local Churches in all denominations and independents within the U.S. and Canada.
If one thing has been learned during my years as a Local Church Pastor and even more years as a District Superintendent, it is when there are problems, the best place to look for needed changes is within the person in the mirror. Since, one’s self is the only one over whom anyone truly has authority to make changes, it only makes sense to start there. Start where one can know effective change can be initiated, and self is the best place to do that.
In the GC COG7 and its SWD the Local Church Pastor and Local Church Members are the frontline of ministry, and the Districts and Conference Offices are the support staff for them to be successful. It is a fitting example. Those with assigned responsibilities are ascribed the duty to care for those they serve. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to show appreciation for the Local Church Pastor, his wife and family, and the Local Church Members and the Local Church Board wherein he serves. Thank you, Local Church Pastor. It is a privilege I take very seriously to be counted as a Ministry Partner with you. Your role as a Local Church Pastor not only comes with significant guidelines about what the pastor should do, it also comes with significant warnings about serving in this office.
“Scripture should be our source of wisdom and discernment when it comes to the role of a pastor in the church. God places much responsibility on the man called to lead and care for his people! There is a much higher standard of personal conduct when you are called to lead, guide, and feed souls.” – Bible Study Tools Staff (February 04, 2015)
Below are a collection of Bible Verses commenting on those with assigned roles to care for others, such as the Local Church Pastor.
2 Timothy 4:2, NKJV
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Acts 20:28, NKJV
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Hebrews 13:17, NKJV
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
Ephesians 4:11-12, NKJV
- And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
- for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
- The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
- Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
- nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
- and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
- For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—
- if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.
- For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
- but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,
- holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
- And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
- “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
- You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock.
- The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.
- So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered.
- My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
- ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
- “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”—
- therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD!
- Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”
1 Timothy 3:1-13, NKJV
- This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
- A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
- not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;
- one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence
- (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);
- not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
- Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
- Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,
- holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
- But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.
- Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
- Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
- For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Thank you, Local Church Pastor. You are always loved. When you do well, you are respected and appreciated.
One final word for the Local Church Pastor, everyone needs at least one pastor and that includes you.
Blessings and peace to you in your service, may your branch be full of fruit for our Lord Jesus Christ as we Focus on Him and Follow His Plan.