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)
Beloved, the Bible is so clear if we are willing to put down our own reasoning and listen. Far too often however, we start to think we know better. That we can add a little here or enhance a little there to help God along with His plan. This notion is foundational to the Purpose Driven Church model, which the vast majority of churches in this country ascribe to. The premise of Rick Warren's teachings to pastors is that they are responsible for the horizontal growth of their churches. That they have to "cast vision" for the congregation to buy into and to those that don't; you show them the door. For fans of the Star Trek movies series, this is known as Spock Theology. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. There is no question that this is fundamental to Warren doctrine. He writes about this concept and has called it "blessed subtraction." The problem of course is God is a fan of Captain Kirk Theology:
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. - Luke 15: 7 (ESV)
Captain Kirk believes in the opposite logic of Spock in that the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. That individual people are what matter. This verse shows that is how God views life as well. In the beginning of the Book of Acts we see God clearly spell out that the church leaders are responsible for the vertical growth of the church, not the horizontal growth, as Warren preaches. It is God who adds to the number in the church as He sees fit. The Bible also clearly teaches that it is only the preached Gospel that is the power of God unto the salvation of men. Not slick marketing campaigns. Not smoke machines and fancy light shows. Not relevant messages that people can relate to. Beloved, the Bible says that narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and few are those who find it. That is why heaven rejoices over one sinner repenting. That is why pastoral leaders ought to be singularly focused on their sheep and preaching the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead however they have become enamored with the Warren teachings and that has led to them to see themselves as vision casters instead of net casters. They have become obsessed with using carnal metrics to determine if they are successful. They have created an idol out of the concept of leadership.
Think about it. If your pastor runs a church according to purpose driven parameters then I guarantee they spend some time in pursuing leadership techniques. Bill Hybels famous annual leadership conference is only the tip of the iceberg but is an excellent microcosm of the modern church's idolization of carnal leadership. Routinely, 75% of the speakers at this allegedly Christian conference are completely in the world. People will say that we can learn leadership principles from CEOs and public leadership figures and my opinion is we should not. If I want to learn how to lead a corporation in this world then I would seek out a successful CEO. If I want to learn how to lead a church then I would turn to Christ since it belongs to Him. It is His body. How foolish we can be! To think that someone who does not even know Jesus Christ can teach us anything about leading His church!
Do not think for a second this is not a scheme of the enemy. Who else benefits from what we have seen in the landscape of modern Christendom? To get the people charged with tending to the flock of God to focus on something other than actual shepherding! Andy Stanley, who is a strict Rick Warren adherent, actually said that we should no longer use the term shepherd because it is not culturally relevant! Dear Lord how unbiblical can you get? If you want to see how God has outlined leadership for pastors just look at the key verses. The very first exhortation here is that leaders must shepherd the flock! Sorry Andy. Your job is not to cast vision. It is not to prepare for the church you want instead of the one God has entrusted to you. It is to shepherd the sheep! What is interesting here is there are no further commands, just direction as to how we are to shepherd! Think about that for a moment. The instructions are to shepherd and nothing else. Not under compulsion. Not for shameful gain. Willingly and eagerly. Not being domineering. By being an example. Wow. There's a leadership conference that needs to happen. But the church continues to play by the Warren playbook and the cancer is spreading. Today on Charisma News was an article by Joseph Mattera entitled, "Why These Two Pastors Keep Judging Each Other."
The premise set forth by Mattera is that there are two types of pastors. One of these he refers to as sheep pastors and the other leader pastors. He believes sheep pastors only have the grace to function with hands on ministry and personally touch those who are part of their congregations. Leader pastors however have the grace and vision to develop other leaders. Wow! If that is not a hunk of carnal wisdom I do not know what is! Somehow Mattera bases this upon Romans 12:8:
if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. - Romans 12:8 (NIV)
Terrific verse but it speaks nothing of sheep pastors versus leader pastors. In fact, all it says regarding leadership is that those who have the gift to do so, should do so diligently. Everything else Mattera is imparting came from his own heart, not the Bible. He even goes as far as to suggest that this Romans 12:8 gift of leadership is only possessed by the leadership pastors. That the sheep pastors are actually not good leaders. This as well is not biblically supported. In fact, according to Romans 12:8, as long as the "sheep pastor" leads his flock diligently then he is following the written Word of God. Mattera tries to say that having this dichotomy is good for the body of Christ and provides 15 differences he sees between the two types. Reading these 15 explanations reveals that Mattera views the leadership pastor as more desirable even though it is something he made up and not contained within Scripture. That's right beloved. The sheep pastor is the biblical model as displayed in the key verses and a host of other Scriptures. Paul said if you want leadership -- follow me as I follow Christ. Not ask John Maxwell what is the best marketing idea to have people come back to your church. Within the 15 differences however, we see the insidious nature of the purpose driven agenda and how it is corroding the body of Christ. Let's go through them one at a time.
1. Sheep pastors only have a vision for the people they see while leader pastors vision goes beyond their current congregation. - This of course is at the heart of Warren theology. That a pastor needs to be focused on the church that is still to come as opposed to tending to the flock God has given him. Sure it is always carefully couched in terms of doing both but here is the thing. Unless you are preaching the Gospel you cannot serve both. The church that is yet to come are not sheep. They are goats. This is why you see all of the cute tricks and schemes designed to bring them in. This is how you get sermons based on the latest secular movie instead of based on Scripture. The real sheep are left starving and if they dare to say anything; well there is always blessed subtraction.
2) Sheep pastors personally touch every member. Leader pastors invest their time in potential leaders. - Well at least Mattera is being honest. He almost mocks real shepherding here saying that sheep pastors will hold every hand and visit the sick. What a novel concept! Under purpose driven teaching the pastor is a CEO out to grow the church but according to the Bible he is supposed to be a shepherd tending to the flock. The guise that is always used is the desire to "reach more people" but that falls flat because as we know only the Gospel can save people and only God grows the church horizontally. Yes, you may convince more goats to stick around but that is not growing the kingdom.
3) Sheep pastors produce happy followers while leader pastors produce other leaders. - This is the pyramid ponzi scheme that modern Christianity has become. Nowhere in the Bible does it instruct pastors to produce other leaders. Before you say the Apostle Paul remember that he was more of an itinerant preacher and church planter. Timothy was a pastor and nowhere does the Bible suggest that while he was pastoring at Ephesus he was secretly hoping for a better offer from Corinth.
4) Sheep pastors want to comfort their flock while leader pastors want to challenge their flock. - This is ruse of the purpose driven paradigm. That God has secretly planned some grandiose purpose for each and every one of us and that it can only be fulfilled by serving in the Usher Ministry. What hogwash. Yes, God does have a purpose for us and that is to glorify Him and shine the light of Christ into the darkness. By the way, helping out in your church is commendable, just do not fall for the nonsense that it is God's purpose for your life. What this is within the Warren teaching is the way the church can save money by having the sheep do the work. For the record, true sheep pastors do challenge their flock. They challenge them to be Bereans. They challenge them to deepen their prayer life. They do not challenge them to lead the children's ministry.
5) Sheep pastors desire a great family church while leader pastors desire an advancing family army. - Mattera tries to get a little cute here but this is still just the purpose driven agenda. The "advancing army" is to bring more people into the building as opposed to the kingdom. Not saying this is done consciously but in the end it really doesn't matter.
6) Sheep pastors comfort the disturbed while leader pastors disturb the comfortable. - Sounds really deep until you think about it. Mattera sounds like he is saying that pastors should not be in the business of comforting and consoling their sheep. Perhaps he needs to read the Gospels again. His claim here that leader pastors want to get their congregation to believe God for greater things is again only couched within the purpose driven paradigm. What greater things? Are we talking about deeper faith? Terrific. That is not how it sounds however.