So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. -- 1Peter 5: 1-3 (ESV)
Odd, I do not see any call on the pastor to shepherd only the next level of leaders so he can concentrate on vision. Perhaps that is because the vision or the church has already been provided by the Great Shepherd. It is called the Gospel. A pastor is simply to preach it and shepherd the sheep entrusted to him by God. Not shuffle them on to some flunky, hireling, or associate pastor. Onto reason number three!
The senior pastor hasn't dedicated three solid years to new leader recruitment. I promise that if you spend 20 hours a week finding, meeting, leading to Christ and deploying the best leaders in your community, you'll blow past 400. Choose not to do this, and, well, 10 years will fly by and you'll be in the same situation. -- Brian Jones
Really? So now evangelism is based upon leadership potential? Twenty hours a week dedicated to this? No wonder you have no time to shepherd! Notice here though who Brian Jones is teaching is responsible for the growth of the church. Is it God? Jesus? No -- it is you the pastor. The purpose driven models of church growth all place the responsibility for horizontal church growth in the lap of the pastor. What does the Bible say?
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. -- Acts 2: 46-47 (ESV)
The Lord added to their number. This is the design of the New Testament church found in the Book of Acts. Who is responsible for the horizontal growth of the church here? God is! The purpose driven models teach young pastors to usurp God's job. It is the responsibility of a pastor to vertically grow the sheep, or as the Bible like to call it -- shepherding. If they focus on the Gospel then their sheep will grow into maturity in the Lord and any lost that hear it will have a chance to be drawn by the Spirit to the cross. Here is the fourth reason offered up by Mr. Jones:
The senior pastor hasn't shifted from a reactionary focus to a proactive focus. Senior pastors who lead churches at this size are some of the most stressed-out folks you'd ever want to meet. I tell them there are five things that never leave a senior pastor's plate: leadership development, preaching, evangelism, generosity and personal development. That's it. That's all they should focus on. -- Brian Jones
Says no Biblical text anywhere. Wow, what staggering arrogance. Beloved this is the human cunning, and craftiness in deceitful schemes the key verses warn us about so eloquently. In the purpose driven mind a pastor needs to only focus on five things and the Gospel is not one of them. Sound doctrine is not one of them. Protecting the flock is not one of them. Wow again. Preaching is not doctrine or the Gospel. It means working on your craft to continue to perpetrate the cult of personality church. Leadership development has already been discussed as avoiding shepherding. Evangelism is purpose driven code speak for marketing your church to the goats in your community. Most modern American church spend less than 5% of their operating budget on actual missions and evangelism. No beloved, within the purpose driven church, evangelism means moving your church away from the saints and towards the "unchurched." Generosity means simply finding ways to increase giving from the flock, which becomes harder under a purpose driven paradigm because the congregation goes from 400 sheep to 4000 goats. Without the indwelt Holy Spirit, the things of God, including generosity and giving, remain foolishness. The final area of personal development is purpose driven code speak as well. This means pastors should be scouring the country for leadership trainings, junkets, and various groups to become involved with. Since there is no time needed for actual pastoring now, there is an abundance for becoming more and more versed in the culture of the purpose driven model and the Seeker Friendly industrial Complex. I think we all know this and look the other way. When our pastor is constantly a guest speaker at other churches or has guest speakers come in and take his pulpit. That is all "personal development." Here is the final reason offered by Jones for why churches do not grow beyond 400 members:
The senior pastor hasn't hired that "second pillar" staff member yet. In every case, and I mean in every case without exception, the senior pastors I've watched lead their churches through the 400 barriers have made a hiring decision that changed everything. My question to you is: Are you willing to fire staff to lead your church through the 400 barrier? Of course you want to keep people. Of course you want to find another seat for them on the bus. We all do. But if you've been stuck at 400 for a while now, I promise you that you've kept people on your team who you wouldn't dream of hiring right now if they came to you and asked for a job. They don't have the skills and gifting necessary. So you have to make hard decisions. That, my friend, is why you're the senior pastor. -- Brian Jones
No my friend. That is not why you are the senior pastor. In fact, if that is the reason then you ought to step down. If you are the senior pastor, you are there because you have been called by God to shepherd the flock He has seen fit to give you. I do not know of any shepherd who is constantly scoping out other flocks. You are the senior pastor because the blood of these sheep is now in your hands and will rest upon your head unless you execute your duties faithfully. Those duties have nothing to do with worrying about why you have 400 members and the guy down the street, who preaches a sugar coated, sinless, bloodless, non sacrificial gospel, has 4000. You already know why! The Bible says people will gather around them teachers to hear what their itching ears want to hear. Your job and calling is not to tell them what they want to hear. Your job is to tell them the Gospel, period! So listen well pastors of God's flock. If God only sees fit to give you 50 people but all fifty end up in glory with Him then you will hear "well done my good and faithful servant." If you decide that you know better than God and you implement human cunning and craftiness in deceitful schemes to grow those 50 to 5000 with the vast majority never knowing Christ, you will hear "I do not know you." Forget Brian Jones. Forget Rick Warren. Forget the mega church mentality. Preach the Gospel. Shepherd the flock He has entrusted to you and let God deal with everything else.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- January 22, 2017