Thursday, November 01, 2012


Someone told me this week: “Pastors who don't have pastors usually head towards not being a pastor.”

This prompted me to wonder, “Who is pastoring Rick Warren?” and “Who is pastoring the guy who is pastoring Rick Warren?” and “Who pastors that guy?”

Not to pick on Rick Warren, of course. We might also ask, “Who pastors the guy who pastors the guy who pastors Joel Olsteen? And who is pastoring that guy?”

See, the problem I have with this concept is that our hierarchical system of religion is hogwash. It’s not based on the New Testament scriptures. It totally ignores the concept of being a Body of Believers made up of equals who lovingly serve one another under the direction of Christ.

With our Americanized version of Christianity, we have a large mass of “believers” (not “disciples”) who are all being pastored by a “Pastor” and that guy isn’t pastored by anyone. Even if he was, it would be something totally man-made and in defiance of scriptural principles.

See, the New Testament church is built on the premise that we have one teacher (Jesus) and we are all brothers and sisters. None of us is to allow anyone else to call us “Teacher” or “Rabbi” according to Jesus, because that would be disobedient to His command not to duplicate the top-down hierarchy of the pagan leaders, and of the Jewish leaders.

This does not mean that none of us can be teachers or lead others. What it does mean is that we cannot allow others to single us out and treat us as if we have more authority than others in the Body of Christ.

The problem with the non-biblical hierarchy model of church leadership is that it quickly reaches an end with one person sitting at the top with no one over them. Most of us are ok with this. We like paying someone else to do all the spiritual work that we’re supposed to do. Well, some of us do, anyway. But, that’s not the Biblical model. Remember:

“Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up..” (Eph. 4:11-12)

See that? The “works of service” are to be done by “his people” not by the one’s given by Christ to equip them. In our Americanized version of Church, we’ve placed all of the “works of service” at the feet of one guy, (the Pastor), and the rest of us sit around and watch him. But, Christ’s intention was that some within the Body would equip, teach, train, and empower everyone else to do the teaching, preaching, evangelizing, praying, serving, giving, sharing, blessing, etc.

Most would answer my question above by saying that Jesus pastors the senior Pastor, and they would be half right. The truth is, Jesus is meant to be the Senior Pastor of every single one of us in the Body. He alone is the Good Shepherd. He is our Head. He is our Leader. Those who serve as Elders in our Body are being pastored by the same Shepherd as the rest of us. We’re all following Christ individually, and corporately. That’s how it was meant to work.

Paul encourages us later in the epistle to the Ephesians to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph. 5:21)

Let’s all submit to Christ together, not to another person in our fellowship. Only Jesus is worthy of our awe and our complete obedience. We are all brothers and sisters.



James Breiling said...

You speak (write) my mind with clarity and lucidity.

Anonymous said...

And then we wonder why the guilt, anxiety, and turmoil exists in the 'church' today with the pastor crowd.

Well written Keith.

Keep2theCode said...

Glad to see more people talking about this; here is what I wrote a few years ago: Nicolaitan: Power and Control in Christianity.

Francis Drake said...

Brilliant post.
How to tell whether your pastor is successful. Eph4.v12 spells it out clearly."for the perfecting the saints for the work of the ministry......"

Check it out, if your pastor is still standing at the front of the meetings, saying basically the same things, year after year, to the same bunch of believers sitting in the same seats year after year, then he has clearly failed the job description.

He has not perfected the saints. He, the pastor is still doing the ministering and you are still suckling at his tit!
Shame on you!

Keep2theCode said...

@Francis Drake,

Same question for Sunday School: what kind of school is it where nobody ever graduates, and where sometimes the young teach the old?

Steve Scott said...


Pastors actually do realize that they have no pastors to pastor them. This is why "pastors' conferences" exist, and why so many pastors go to as many of them as they can. They are pastored by the pastors who put on the conferences.

Of course, this leads to the obvious question of who pastors the pastors who put on the pastors' conferences.

Manny said...

This is an excellent post which basically addresses the Head and The Body of Christ.