Thursday, November 01, 2012
WHO PASTORS THE PASTORS OF OUR PASTORS?
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.