The pastor is the leader. I’m called an “overseer” and “shepherd” in Scripture. That means I’m supposed to know where and how to lead the sheep Jesus has entrusted to me.
But I confess, I often do not know how and where to lead the sheep.
What I Do Know
Of course I know I’m to lead the sheep to Jesus. That’s easy to understand. Of course I know the sheep need to be fed by God’s Word. The sheep need to be cared for, protected, have their wounds bound up. All of these happen through God’s Word.
I know of course I’m supposed to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.
I know our mission: to help people follow Jesus.
But how to do those things? I’m still figuring that out. And I probably will be until I die.
Semitary For Leadership
Leadership is not taught well in seminary. Maybe not at all. There were no classes on how to run a business meeting, how to identify future leaders, how to train people to teach the Bible, how to resolve conflict, how to know when to change something, how to confront bullies, etc. I basically know two things from seminary: (1) theology and (2) how to study the Bible. Almost everything else I’m trying to figure out as I go.
I know I’m supposed to lead, but I don’t know how. For example:
- We are called to help people follow Jesus in community. Should we start home groups? Should we push Sunday school more? Should we have more fellowship meals? What will be most beneficial in accomplishing that goal? I don’t know.
- We are called to evangelize. But I’m not good at it myself! I can preach, but I’m not a walk-up-to-someone-on-the-street-and-lead-them-to-Jesus kind of guy. Do we need a program? Do we need an evangelistic course to invite people to? Do we need to make Sunday morning the mechanism for evangelism and focus everything around that? Do we need to go back to door to door? I don’t know.
I Need Help
I’m sorry if it makes you feel insecure to know that your pastor doesn’t know what he’s doing, but it’s often the truth. Remember, I’m not your lead pastor. The one who holds that responsibility is the fountain of wisdom.
Maybe there aren’t classes for leadership in seminary because you can’t really teach those things in a classroom. They require wisdom, and wisdom primarily comes from experience. Knowledge I have. Experience I do not have. Therefore wisdom is lacking. Therefore, more and more I am realizing my need to learn from the experience of others. Maybe if I’m still pastoring when I’m 85 I won’t need wisdom from others, but until then, if you have an insight, I need to hear it.
But I’m Still the Leader
Hebrews 13:17a says “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account . . .” I will be judged with stricter judgment as a teacher of God’s Word and an overseer of souls. I’m not here to make Christians happy. I’m here to make Jesus happy. After I receive counsel and wisdom, I still have to make decisions. By God’s grace, and unless I disqualify myself, I’m striving to shepherd and lead as well as I can.
I will make mistakes in leadership. I have already made many. When those errors come to my attention, I will do my best to make it right.
This is probably the biggest area in which I need prayer: leadership.