16 January, 2015

You asked: I've Answered

This morning I received an email from a person in town who was writing to me because they had been talking with a former member of my church. I have not heard from this former member in several years. This person left the church where I am pastor under a dubious cloud in that they told me that they loved me, they loved the church and there wanted to make sure that I knew that there was absolutely no problem with me or the church, but that they were leaving because they felt that God was leading them to a new place in their life and they thanked me for all that I, my family and the church had done for them. Just a couple of weeks later, the talk began, how that this person was telling people that I had run them off because I was a dictator, a control freak and any number of other stories and accusations about me. Now this person who wrote to me said that they were "deeply concerned" after hearing the things this person had to say about me and my leadership. The long and short of the entire email was that according to this person I wanted to "run the ship" and often "corrected people" and told them that they were wrong. The writer challenged me with this question: "What makes you think that you are able to judge anyone's actions so that you should correct them? What gives you the right or the authority to do such a thing?"  I am responding to that woman with these words written in my email along with a link to this blog entry:

I am given that right and authority AND RESPONSIBILITY by the Word of God and by the calling on my life as Pastor. Pastor literally means "shepherd."  A shepherd is one who is charged with the care, provision and safety of his flock. It is the shepherd's job to lead the flock to a good supply of safe and clean water and a good supply of fresh food that is not contaminated. It is his job to guard them from the wolves and other predators that would destroy them. It is his responsibility to see that they stay healthy and disease free. It is his job to keep the flock together and not let the wander off and become isolated where they could be lost or attacked. It is the shepherds job to KNOW where the flock is going and lead them there, rather than let the flock wander around aimlessly or stay in one place too long where they will die of starvation. A good shepherd will know his sheep and lead and direct them and even discipline them where necessary so that they grow into healthy, strong sheep that are productive. It is his calling or job. As pastor, this is my calling or job. Some refuse correction. Some reject the healing balm and oil that is applied to diseased areas and would prefer to run off on their own. Such people bounce from church to church and never submit themselves to the leadership or counsel of the shepherd and breed discord, strife and spiritual disease where ever they go and always point an accusing finger at the shepherd and challenge his authority. I suggest you examine the person you are now associating with and ask yourself what is the fruit that their life displays? If there is a broken and fragmented trail that leads from church to church to church over the years and finds fault with every church and pastor, then I suggest that you are looking at a goat, not a sheep. And before you go throwing that "judge not" thing at me, let me leave you with this scripture giving me the responsibility to say what I have just written: "I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teachings you have learned. Keep away from them." (Emphasis mine)  

You asked; I have answered. Be warned!

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