By Ralph V. Reynolds
“Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (I Peter 5:3).
The main thought of this book, “If Sheep Could Speak,” is that the shepherd leads the sheep. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. The entire relationship between the shepherd and the flock is wrecked when he reverses this order. The sheep will refuse to be driven. When this is attempted, they will jump through every hole in the fence. It would be a great blessing if pastors would realize that they are leaders. When driven, the sheep will scatter. When led, the sheep will unite behind the shepherd and follow him to fountains of cool waters. It is God’s plan that the shepherd leads the way.
The church can never reach higher heights nor go further than that of her ministers. There is a verse of Scripture that has significant bearing upon this great truth: The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits” (II Timothy 2:6). The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that the farmer had the right to reap the first fruits of the harvest. Applying this principle to the church, it would mean that the pastor has the right to reap of the financial income of a church.
It is the pastor who has the responsibility of being the shepherd of the tithes; however, there is a secondary application that may be applied here. He must be the first partaker in all the activity and ministries of the church. In prayer, worship, tithing and giving, he leads the way. The shepherd of the flock is the leader, going before. He sets the example for all to follow.
- The sheep will not pray if the shepherd does not pray.
- The sheep will not tithe if the shepherd does not tithe.
- The sheep will not worship if the shepherd does not worship.
- The sheep will not faithfully attend church if the shepherd does not faithfully attend church.
- The sheep will not study the Bible if the shepherd does not study his Bible.
- The sheep will not submit to authority if the shepherd does not submit to authority.
If the pastor is independent and will not follow God ordained leadership, then he cannot expect the saint to do so. In the ministry of leadership, the importance of example cannot be over emphasized. The saints will at all times have their eyes upon their minister. Several years ago, one pastor gave a strong appeal to give to Christmas for Christ rather than giving Christmas presents within their family
In the church, there were some that listened to this admonition and did exactly as he had requested. One family had several growing children. At that particular Christmas they had no presents. They were all willing to make the dedication and the sacrifice until one day they were at the pastor’s home, and they were shown the expensive gifts that the pastor had given to each one of his children.
It was such a shock and disappointment to the children of this particular family that it took a long time to lay it upon the altar. It is a regrettable thing that many ministers do not possess the qualifications of being a good leader. The ministry of leadership is lacking in many churches. We may consider some qualifications of a leader:
- He must be a man of faith: faith in God, in himself, and in the church and message he preaches.
- He must be a man who inspires trust and confidence. If he is insecure, he will interpret everything as a threat. As a result, he will always be on the defensive. The saints soon loose confidence in such a man.
- He must be a man of humility. He is not afraid of sticking his neck out and venturing out into new areas. He is not afraid to make mistakes. However, he is quick to recognize and confess mistakes and make the proper correction and if necessary, restitution.
- He is a man who is willing to listen to others. He does not try to exalt or defend himself if he has been wrong in some judgment.
- He is a man who must know where he is going. He has clearly spelled out goals and objectives before him.
- He is a man who must know what he believes. When he is preaching he is not on the defensive. He will teach and preach with authority. He knows that he is preaching the truth and so has confidence in himself and in God’s Word. He declares the truth with power and anointing. Understanding that sweat is not anointing and perspiration is not inspiration, he simply declares the truth clearly, with plain speech and simple words.
The God ordained leader in the church is not a lord over God’s heritage. He is not a sergeant major who barks out orders. He is an example who goes before. He knows that he is serving God. It is the Lord who promotes and who also can demote. He leads his flock through the ministry of love and gives himself wholly, completely and unreservedly to the ministry of being all that God wants him to be a leader among God’s people.
This article “The Ministry of Leadership” was taken from “If the Sheep Could Speak” by Ralph V. Reynolds and may only be used for study and research purposes only.