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By Yetta Yao
on August 12, 2017 05:08 AM
There must be mutual care and responsibilities shared between church members and leaders when they are involved in ministry matters.
Zhang Wei, a family church pastor, recently penned down his thoughts on several key responsibilities that church leaders should not ignore. He brought up the following "food for thought": What's the relationship between receiving of grace and call to ministry? How can a pastor preserve his passion for service? How can leaders avoid the temptation of fame and power? What can ordinary churchgoers do for their pastors?
1. A pastor should genuinely care for his members' spiritual life.
Zhang points out that pastors should feel more burdened for lost souls and care for his members' spiritual life than ordinary believers. They are called by God to shepherd lost or immature souls and watch out for his sheep as fatherly roles. (1 Peter 5:1-4) Without this burden for souls, one cannot be called as a good servant of God.
“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”(1 Thessalonians 2:8) Zhang mentioned the verse in Thessalonians as a reminder for pastors to constantly reflect and lay their lives before the Lord.
Some members may find their pastors "caring too much of their business" when they are constantly being "checked". However, if this care arises out of genuine love for each other, church members should also pour out their care and concerns for their leaders. God will definitely question church leaders about whether they have cared for their sheep when they meet face to face.
2. A pastor should continuously deepen his biblical foundation to meet the needs of his members.
Zhang mentioned that oftentimes, church pastors have ignored upgrading their own biblical knowledge. However, such ignorance would tremendously compromise pastors' role of accurately and effectively spreading God's word to his members.
Zhang also brought forth the fact that church's insensitivity to God's word would lead to an unhealthy state of church's growth. Once the church becomes tired of God's word, it would possibly focus heavily on peripheral functions such as entertaining activities to prevent its members from leaving. However, all these unhealthy emphases would not quench the true spiritual thirst of its members.
As such, pastors should undergo systematic and life-long biblical training. Zhang said that." Submission to service is submission to learning; Call to pastor is call to learning. Pastors must commit themselves in learning in order to better fulfill their role of pastoring."
The author reveals that lack of emphasis on biblical training has lead to the situation of which church leaders are in fact incapable of teaching his members. Many of them still believe that those who serve in church do not necessarily need to possess much caliber or biblical training.
In fact, every professional field needs professionals. Doctors and lawyers must have relevant certification and many years of professional experience. Similarly, pastors must also invest more energy and resources in order to fulfill such a complicated role.
Zhang quoted Martin Luther's words as a warning, " You should escape the pastoral role as much as avoiding the fire from hell." The role of a pastor is extremely dangerous as in his preachings to the congregation would be judged by God. One should not become a pastor without such realization.
3. A pastor should live up to the expectation as a role model to the rest, as requested by the Bible.
“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:2-7) As mentioned in the verse, a pastor should live up to the expectation as a role model in various aspects of his life.
Some pastors tend to possess such weakness: they like to speak forth truth without living it out. Some even start to lose their initial fear towards God after serving for some time. Their delight in leadership gradually removes their compassion and burden towards their members. Especially as their salary and working package gets better, their job seems more manageable and relaxing as well. Therefore, Zhang reminds all pastors to be more aware of the tendency of falling into wrongful temptations or comfort zone as their church sizes get expanded and care for one's personal fame become bloated up. As they lose their effectiveness in role modeling, pastors would possibly comprise their true value in church.
-Translated By: Maggie Li
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