Duties of a Pastor, Part 5
Maybe this seems like one of the most obvious duties of a pastor in the modern church. For the last several decades, the ability to lead has been bandied about as the quintessential and defining mark of a good, effective pastor. I don’t totally buy all of that thinking, but it has some merit.
When you think about the imagery of a shepherd, what does the shepherd do for the sheep? He leads them. He gets them where they are going. He keeps them together. He uses his wisdom to take them to appropriate pastures, and away from dangers, and to come to still waters.
When Jesus describes his role as the good shepherd, he says that “the sheep hear his voice, and he calls them by name and leads them out. When he has brought them out, all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him.” So, the idea of leading and shepherding fits the metaphor of shepherding sheep. You will see this reference both in the Old and New Testament.
But does the New Testament spell out clearly that pastors and elders are to lead the church? The answer is yes. Paul writes to Titus, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Tim. 5:17 ESV)
The writer of Hebrews says this, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. “(Heb. 13:17 ESV)
This leadership must remain benevolent, and it’s shared among a plurality of more than one elder. But the church needs good, biblical leadership. We need people who have a clear-headed understanding of scripture and a biblically-developed understanding of the church so that the church can stay faithful to its calling. Shepherds lead.