A pastor is not something that one does; it is something that one IS. The present system in Christianity of selecting (often by resume) and voting on pastors is anti-Biblical by its very nature. If a congregation, or a group of laymen serving on a pulpit committee, were wise enough to choose a pastor they wouldn’t need one. Since they are not wise enough, they resort to hiring a pastor. This man then becomes a mere employee of the church who works for a board of laymen (who know nothing about the ministry) and what they have got on their hands is a hireling.
By His Spirit, God gives certain pastors to certain people, and it becomes a life-long responsibility. If a man is a pastor sent by God, he cannot retire from the work of shepherding that flock any more than Israel’s High Priest could retire. Neither can he use his present church as a stepping stone to another.
I have been at PCC for eleven years. During this same period of time most other churches in the Pace, Milton area have been through multiple pastors. The average tenure of a pastor in America today is about 24-36 months. Most people don’t realize it, but it means something to have a long-term pastor. A pastor is a gift from God, not to be refused or disrespected if one would grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Many of God’s sheep are right now wandering, as it were, having no (real) shepherd in their life. From place to place they go, looking for something elusive, but what they find, in reality, is a church building with a hireling behind the pulpit. That pastor hireling will probably be gone soon, because the corrupt system that put him in place will also remove him, (hired and fired by carnal people), or he will simply move on of his own choosing to find a better opportunity elsewhere.
The system of hiring and firing preachers cannot provide the pastoral covering that God intends His flock to have.
- “He that is an hireling and not the shepherd… seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep” ( John 10:12-13).
God called me to PCC to plant this work from scratch. Which I did. For eleven years I have shepherded this flock through thick and thin. I labored tirelessly when there was no money and no means to provide for my own family. For eight years I was bi-vocational to make ends meet. My family and I have stood shoulder to shoulder with scores of people in times of sickness, death, loss, suffering, heartache, and funerals. We’ve been with you in times of joy too, such as baptisms, weddings, baby dedications, and sporting events for your children. I've seen hundreds of people come and go. I've listened to complaints, been criticised, and abandoned. I’ve stood up to church bullies, enemies of the cross, and wolves in sheep’s clothing who would not spare the flock if they could have had their way. I have run off thieves, crooks, and teachers of false doctrine. I have withstood church troublemakers. I have been wounded in the battle and fought the good fight. But I never ran or abandoned the flock. I am not a hireling. This is not my job. It’s what I am… a life-time shepherd for you.
- “Ye are in our hearts… to die and live with you” ( 2 Corinthians 7:3 )
The system of hiring pastors is not healthy – usually resulting in a hireling. Young believers who have been led to Christ by a man who then abandons them to lead another flock are left in shell shock. I hurt for them. Adding to the confusion is that sometimes that young believer is selected to serve on a pulpit committee which is responsible for selecting their next pastor! Say what? Talk about utter confusion! How can that young, wounded lamb be expected to plumb the depths of spiritual mysteries and choose a man who is to be his shepherd? In other words, the young lamb is called upon to discern who is more discerning than he.
I say take a look around you. Look at the hundreds of sects and churches, large and small, that change pastors every 24 months, and keep themselves in business by shifting the sheep from church to church by transfer growth. Is this Biblical? Is it healthy?
Most sheep don’t even know that such a reality as having a pastor for life, given by God, exists. And despite their hunger and thirst, they continue to wander from one dry place to another in search of something they will never find. All the while, green pasture awaits them in the place they are supposed to be.