While attending a church service this week, the speaker made a very good point. His sermon was on being a good shepherd to the flock God has entrusted to us as pastors, just as He is a Good Shepherd to His flock. During the speaker’s message, he made this observation; while we are watching our flock, so are spiritual predators. We must be constantly vigilant in overseeing the safety of those God has entrusted to us. The shepherd has the responsibility for more than just feeding the sheep, he must also protect them. As King David fought off lions and bears that attacked his father’s sheep when he was just a shepherd boy, we, too must fight off those who would devour our Father’s sheep.
It is our job to warn the sheep of danger. It is our job to point out theological errors they may encounter, dangerous cults, erroneous worldviews, and false teachers. We must point out these things because if we do not, our sheep will wander off and become mired in a quagmire of false doctrines that will render them useless to the Kingdom of God. Yes, we must feed our sheep solid food, great teaching from God’s Word. Yes, we must lead them to Christ, the Living Water so they can drink deep of His presence. We must also protect and defend them from dangers or we are not doing all our job requires of us. The staff has two ends – a crook to lift sheep to safety and a club to defend them with and drive off predators. Who is looking over your flock?
Ta Ethne is proud to announce that the next chapter of our next book, Dominos, A Dynamic Commentary on the Epistle of Jude, is now available with study guide here on our site. Simply click on the Bible Study tab to the right or use the following link: https://taethne.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/dominoes-a-dynamic-commentary-on-jude-chapter-1-plus-study-guide.pdf
It bothers me to hear from fellow pastors that they are not doing counseling, at least, no more than a session or two. It seems that they have bought into the philosophy that they are somehow not qualified to help people with their problems like a “professional” counselor is. This is dangerous thinking. A pastor usually has 4, sometimes 8 – 10 years of formal education in the word of God. Their very calling as a shepherd requires them to use Scripture to help people live productive lives that will be blessed by God. Is this not counseling? How can one justify sending a hurting, confused person that you are spiritually responsible for, from your flock, to an outside person? It is an abrogation of one’s responsibility.
Unless there is a medical problem that is suspected, there should not be a referral to an outside person, especially if the one being referred to isn’t even a Christian! Every problem has a sin component to it. It is the pastors job to help identify the problem. Without identifying the sin(s) contributing or causing a persons problem, remedy cannot be made. The pastor needs to lead them to confess and repent of said sin and make restitution where possible. The person must then be given godly habits to instill and accountability with their lifestyle so that there is not a relapse. This holds true for marriage counseling, family counseling, addictive behaviors, etc.
It is time for pastors to stop being lazy, stop buying into the lie that they are not capable of counseling, and get involved in the lives of their people. It is easy to preach, easy to lead meetings – it is hard work to actually shepherd a people and care for them. To say you don’t know how means you are admitting you don’t know how to take God’s Word and apply it to real life. You need to repent of your laziness and have the integrity to stop calling yourself a pastor or repent of your ignorance of how to use God’s Word and go and learn.
Do you care enough about your people to help them? Do you know enough to help them? Its time to stop playing church, stop playing leader and learn how to serve as God calls us to serve.