The job of the pastor is to shepherd the flock, to lead and protect the church and to care for those in the church. The question remains, are our thoughts of our pastors too lofty? Yes, they are often the center of attention on Saturday nights or Sunday mornings, but pastors are still brothers in Christ too.
As it is their responsibility as a pastor to bring the Word of God with conviction and truth to the church, so it also is to be humble. But what happens when the church places the pastor on a pedestal and believes that the pastor is more valuable than the church because of the pastor’s works? It’s a breeding ground for temptation. Pastors are not above sin, they are not above the need for grace just like everyone else. However it seems certain churches are growing at incredible rates in the United States, and the view of the pastor is being elevated higher than God intended.
Once the church allows for the temptation of ego and self importance to grow, the pastor will struggle greatly to be an effective pastor. He will be tempted to cater to what people want to hear rather than what Gods Word explicitly teaches. This is dangerous, because the more we elevate the pastor the more they feel the need to make you happy and keep you around, because they now feed off of your opinion of them. Instead of being concerned with what God thinks of them, they will struggle with the need for recognition and worth from the church surrounding them.
There are several examples of pastors that were asked to resign because they had a lot of controversy surrounding them, and a lot of their actions showed where their heart was. Should we be weary of pastors like Joel Osteen, Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, and T.D. Jakes? As Mark and Tullian have stepped down from their respected churches, they represent a growing trend in large churches. Mark started a new church after being asked to resign at Mars hill, what does it say about his heart? And Tullian’s pastoral ministry ended after his two affairs, after he led a large church. We can’t ignore that there seems to be a growing heart issue for those who God has tasked with shepherding a large church. As for Jakes and Osteen, they like to change what the Bible really teaches to accrue more attendance. They do not accurately represent God’s Word nor communicate God’s heart for the church. Instead they stand on their pedestal and tell you what God can do for you, not what you can do for God. How can the Church combat elevating pastors?