Or is it?
In reading Luke 15:3-7 we see another role for pastors that is often overlooked; effectively reaching the lost. In this illustration we see the shepherd LEAVING the 99 sheep already in the flock to go out and find the lost sheep – the lost sinner who needs to repent. That is, the pastor leaves the believers to look after themselves (for a period of time) while he goes out to seek the lost.
Then again in Matthew 9:36-38, Jesus looks out to the crowds of people and sees them as scattered sheep who have no shepherd, and so commissions His disciples to go out and preach to these lost sheep.
From these two passages, it seems that a good pastor is also supposed to be an effective soul winner.
Acts 20 and I Peter 5 communicate to us that good shepherds ‘watch over the flock’ as ‘overseers’ and are instructed to ‘feed the flock of God.’ Yes, we must do this, but it doesn’t end there. Many pastors tend the sheep ONLY…. and ignore their personal duty to reach the lost. Their ministry is lop-sided and out of balance.
- It’s easy to title yourself ‘pastor’ - but not so easy to reach the lost
- It’s easy to preach sermons like “Putting Christ Back into Christmas” to a room full of believers - but try that message on your lost neighbor and see what you get
- Preaching to the choir is easy. Instead of doing that all the time, how about going out into the highways and hedges and compelling the sinners to come so that God’s house might be full!
Whatever needs a believer in the church might have, and however seriously they may feel them, those needs pale in comparison to the lost condition of the well-adjusted neighbor who lives next door and is headed towards an eternity in hell.
This perspective is vital… and we must never lose sight of it.