Pastor’s Desk July16th

Scripture Passage:  “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord.    Jeremiah 23:1

 

Dear Friends,

      This past April marked the beginning of my twentieth-eight year in pastoral ministry. I have served two churches as pastor.  I served Shepard’s Chapel from 1990-2004 and Fairview Baptist Tabernacle from 2004 to the present. Each church was uniquely different while still being functionally the same.  Both are conservative Southern Baptist churches known for their diverse age groups, mission emphasis, and multiple ministries.  One was bi-vocational, the other fully funds my salary.  Shepard’s Chapel was an annual call.  (They voted on me every year.) Fairview is a set call.  (I am here until the church or I feel it is time for me to move on.)  Fairview has multiple funded staff members, at Shepard’s Chapel I was the staff.  Each church has thrived and flourished because of a triune relationship between the Great Shepherd, the under shepherd, and the sheep.  You cannot have church if any one of the three are missing.

     I cannot emphasize enough that the head of the church is the Great Shepherd.  No one can do what He can.  No one has ever done what He did.  No one has the knowledge and wisdom He does.  He is omniscient.  If we follow His leadership we will never go wrong.  He has the ability to see the big picture and the power and authority to carry out the plan.  A church that follows the Great Shepherd gains the respect of Heaven and the attention of the world.  Our success is totally dependent upon Him. 

     For whatever reason, the Great Shepherd has chosen under shepherds to help carry out His plans.  They are not the boss, but they have to answer to the BOSS!  A good under shepherd loves the Great Shepherd and genuinely loves and cares for the sheep.  The problem is that unlike the Great Shepherd, the under shepherd is plagued with flaws.  He is not omniscient.  (He does not know everything.)  He is not omnipotent.  (He does not have all power.)  He is not omnipresent.  (He cannot be everywhere at the same time.)  He is called upon to stand in the gap for the sheep’s protection, to minister to the sheep’s needs, and to provide the sheep a balanced diet from the pasture of God’s provision.  I have never seen a church mature and grow if the under shepherd is not doing his job.  The closer he walks with the Great Shepherd, the better job he will do.  If he does not fulfill his obligation to the Great Shepherd then God holds him responsible for the sheep.  (Think about that for a minute.)

     The final section is the sheep.  The Great Shepherd does not need sheep, but He wants them.  The joy they bring Him is immeasurable, the aggravation minute.  They are evidence of His existence.  He enjoys immense pleasure watching His sheep as they live lives of satisfaction in Him.  They deeply disappoint Him when they choose to stray away from the fold.  The under shepherd would not have a job if it were not for the sheep.  A fold without sheep has lost its purpose to exist.  Flocks may vary in size, but an under shepherd is just as important to a flock of one, as they are to a flock of one hundred.  The sheep can bring the under shepherd joy or they can cause him extra work and stress.  The more content the sheep are, the more satisfied the shepherd is.  When all the sheep are in the fold, the shepherd can lay down in the gap and enjoy the fruits of a day well spent.  If one is missing, he can think of nothing else until it is found and restored to the flock.  So goes the family of God known as the church. 

In Christ,

Pastor Johnny