Reflection On Biblical Perspective
A proper Biblical relationship between Pastor and Congregation is essential for a church to be healthy. Each must be clear on who’s responsibilities are who’s… and then carry them out faithfully. It is at this point that God’s decrees are paramount.
It is important… no, it’s required… that Scripture drive how the Church-Pastor relationship is lived out. I believe that a pastor without God’s people is unbiblical. God purposed the relationship between people and pastor to accomplish His will. Toward this end I submit a few comments with the pertinent supporting texts.
The Pastor’s call from God is to pray and minister the Word Acts 6:4. An important element in ministering the Word is the ability to teach 2 Tim 2:24. The Pastor’s call is to tend to the spiritual needs of the congregation as one who will give an account to God Heb 13:17. The Pastor must lead God’s people by casting God’s vision for them and the church’s future 1 Pet 5:1-3. The Pastor must also be an example to the congregation as a servant leader 1 Pet 5:1-3 and never conduct himself as a dictator!
The Pastor should spend significant amounts of time in prayer and studying God’s Word. The reason is because this is the most important job he has for the spiritual health of God’s people. He must know the congregation he pastors well. He must encourage them in their time of need by providing solid Biblical counsel and being present to encourage them. He must be an example in conduct and speech at all times. He is responsible for communicating God’s truth and leading God’s people to follow God’s vision for their future.
The Church’s call from God is to carry out the work of the ministry Eph 4:12. This frees up the Pastor to carry out his call from God Acts 6:2. The church is to support the pastor so that he can carry out his call with joy Heb 13:17. If the church (Church members) hinder the minister from carrying out his call OR make his life miserable as he carries out his call, then (In some way according to the text) that is not beneficial for them Heb 13:17.
“The work of the ministry” Eph 4:12 is what the church is called by God to carry out. This may be simplistic, but the work of the ministry is simply all the things that go along with being salt and light and ministering to people in and outside the church. The members of the church are equipped and trained by the ministers. Thus, they work in tandem, as a team, both doing their part to proclaim the Gospel, build each other up, and expand God’s Kingdom.
Problems begin when:
1) The pastor neglects his call to pray and minister the Word.
2) God’s people don’t carry out their call.
3) When the pastor does what God’s people are supposed to do.
4) When God’s people hinder the minister/pastor from carrying out his call. And most importantly,
5) When either/both ignore God’s plain direction in Scripture for how the church is to function.
Churches that grow and are healthy will adhere closely to Scripture’s blueprint for the function and ministry of all. Those that don’t follow God’s plan, will be shallow… plateau… and eventually die (In my definition, “death” has nothing to do with numbers. It is more of what I call the “Ichabod Principal” 1 Sam 4:21a. The minister that abandons God’s clear instruction may have people’s affirmation, but he is being disobedient to God and the call.
The choice is clear… we follow God’s plan and be blessed OR do it our way and live in chaos. I wonder which is best.