Written by cycleguy on April 23rd, 2019

Sheep are stupid. Get one sheep running and they will all run. If one plunges to its death, the others will follow.  Is it any wonder then, why a shepherd was so important for a flock? Not in my mind.

Sheep are stupid. But as a pastor and as a leader I HAVE to be careful how and why I say that. They do, after all, consider me their leader and will (generally) follow.  🙂  If I say they are stupid…okay let’s say “not so smart”  to be kinder…what does that say about me?  See my point? 🙂 🙂

But this is not a post about the sanity of sheep or the insanity of the leader/pastor.  I want to consider something else. Scripture often compares God’s people to sheep. That ought to humble us. We need godly shepherds to lead us. Luke 15 tells us the story of the lost sheep. Jesus tells us He is the “Good Shepherd.” So that definitely puts us in the sheep category.

When it comes to the local church, I believe the “office” of pastor is a Scriptural term. Some refer to that as an elder in the church. Others, like me, take the passage in Ephesians 4:11 as one of the ministries of leadership in the church. (I do not believe in the “five-fold ministry” that some teach. The Greek language shows pastor-teacher as the same person not a separate entity. For those who care it is called Granville-Sharps Rule. You can look it up for an explanation of you care to.)

But my thoughts this morning are not geared toward that aspect of being a shepherd. I’m concerned about the reports I hear from local people, and on blogs, about the “heavy-handedness” of pastors. Lords. Dictators. Abusers with words.  Iron-fisted. Those who use their legalism as a hammer. I remember hearing Charles Stanley saying once, “Shepherds don’t beat sheep; they feed sheep.”  I cringe, and it is all I can do to stay quiet, when I hear someone local talk about being beat into submission by words from the pulpit.  “If you divorce you will go to hell.”  “If you don’t tithe you are not a real Christian.” “I’m the pastor and since I’m in charge I have the say-so around here.” Say what?  Since when is the church “his church” anyway? The last time I looked it said Jesus was the head of the church. Nowhere in the Bible does it give any shepherd the right to beat the sheep.

Case in point: When I was struggling with the whole Church, Inc concept, I was told the pastor had the vision. God gave him that vision. He cast the vision and the leaders and the people followed. This principle sets the pastor up for a huge fall or a huge success, depending on his influence. Corporate America may work that way, but the last time I looked the Bible calls for plurality of leadership. I personally believe that the temptation to become controlling and to overstep our reach is one every shepherd must fight. IMHO it is outside my role as a shepherd to manipulate and control the sheep God has given me to shepherd.  I believe God has given me the sheep He has to love, nourish and care for…not beat them into subjection.

What are your thoughts?


12 Comments so far ↓

  1. Legalism doesn’t heal, it wounds, sometimes so deeply that we sheep continue to bleed long after the boom fell. Like you, Bill, I believe pastors need to “love, nourish and care for” their precious sheep. It’s not an easy task, but with God’s help, it can be accomplished.

  2. Hey Bill,
    I agree with you. Thankfully, I was taught at Southeastern University (Bible College) the concept of servant leadership; following in the steps of the One who came and served God obediently by serving the greatest need of humanity.

    By the way, I got your package. You are so very kind. You are in my prayers as you continue to serve the Kingdom of God and as you ride for M.S.

    Blessings to you!
    Tammy <

    • cycleguy says:

      Servant leadership abhors the pride and the arrogance which comes from a dictatorial type of leadership. Great point Tammy.

      Glad you got the package. let it serve as a prayer reminder for you, for my ride.

  3. We knew nothing but pastoral leadership until we went with New Tribes. There we learned about plurality of leadership, an eye opener. We could understand then why what we came out of had so many problems and how it set the pastor to fail, the church people to fail if they were lifting up that pastor on the same place only Jesus Christ should be. We have appreciated by far the safety that comes with plural leadership to a body of believers. Nobody in the church I got saved in ever spoke against anything the pastor wanted to do, that would have been touching God’s anointed. Very good post Bill, you nailed it brother.

    • cycleguy says:

      Good points Betty. That “touch not the Lord’s anointed” is thrown around so flippantly it has taken on a life of its own. Especially a misrepresented life. Glad you learned about the plurality of leadership.

  4. floyd says:

    Agreed. It’s interesting how those iron fisted folks can read how Christ Himself dealt with people, and yet come up with something so different and in direct contrast of His ministry. God Himself!

    Boggles the noodle…

    • cycleguy says:

      I guess those iron-fisted folks never really follow Jesus’ style of leadership. I just cannot see Him treating his followers (sheep) as many are treated today.

  5. Linda Stoll says:

    You are a pastor’s pastor, Bill, with a tender heart and a gentle spirit. Your people are blessed indeed …

  6. struggling sheep says:

    I cannot begin to have the right words to respond to this…
    I left a church that used that iron fist to actually do damage to my relationship with Jesus.
    I felt like there was no way he was going to love me – I was too broken – unusable. Why would God keep a covenant with me?
    While I stopped talking to HIM, He never stopped prompting me. Being right there. I could feel Him.

    And then I found my way into a Sunday service with you…
    And I realized God doesn’t actually work like that…
    In fact, He loves me so much that He sent his KID to DIE for me. As a mom, that’s a love I can’t even comprehend.
    So here I am. A struggling sheep. BUT I have the most awesome Shepard who is refusing to leave me behind (no matter how many times I take off running the other way). And a Pastor who gets it.
    And for ALL of that, I am grateful!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks so much “struggling sheep” for your comment. First, I am so glad you found out how faithful God is toward you. You are right…He never stopped prompting you, never stopped loving you. Second, so glad your friend cared enough about you to tell you of a God who is not like you had been told or felt and invited you to come. So glad God has given me the opportunity to be a shepherd to you also.