The Job of the Pastor

by: Dr. Bruce Goddard

1. What is my responsibility as a pastor?

Acts 20:28 teaches the pastor to Take Heed and Feed the flock…my flock.

Acts 20:28-30 says, Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

The warning about wolves must indicate that “Take Heed” relates to those who would bring in strange doctrine trying to draw away disciples after themselves.

2. My job as pastor is to “oversee.” that flock.

Notice verse 28 which says, “…all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers…” This word, “overseer” is the greek word “episkopos” and it is significant as we will see in a moment.

There is a flock God gives each pastor. That is his flock. Pastors are to oversee their flock.

Paul was teaching this group of pastors… because it was his flock… You just do not go teaching those belonging to another flock, only those in your flock. These men are special to Paul as he explains in verse 25-27 which says, And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

Paul continues in verse 31 which says, Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

For three years these men have been under the tutelage of Paul. He had a long running ministry to them, teaching night and day with tears. These are pastors, these are leaders in whom Paul had invested much. So these men have listened to him, learned from him and followed him. These pastors are HIS FLOCK. But each one of them has their own FLOCK. There were times he warned them in tears, so his relationship to them was serious, intimate, and he passionately instructed them.

I may try to help, teach and encourage some small group of pastors, but once I realize they do not want my instruction, I step away, let them pick their own leaders and their own instructors. Some say to me, “Why don’t you tell this guy…or show that guy…” I do not because he is not in MY FLOCK. Perhaps I should plead, perhaps I should passionately weep before him in hopes of him following my instruction, but I have not, I offer my relationship freely, but only to those who seek it.

So it is not my job to go correcting other pastors…especially publicly. I have mistakenly done this, but only to those I loved and felt I could get away with it, and sometimes I have been wrong. In those cases, I have backed off and stayed distant friends. I have even apologized for my impropriety in seeking to instruct a pastor with whom I did not have the “flock” kind of relationship.

3. WHEN DO I REBUKE FALSE DOCTRINE?

When it is infecting or endangering my FLOCK. I try to just name the wrong doctrine, but at times I need to mention a name, but only when that name is a danger to my FLOCK.

KEEPING THE PRIOR INFORMATION CLEAR IN MIND…

For me to go around spreading information that harms others or exposes sin, is unscriptural. Unless it is endangering MY FLOCK, I need to stay out of it.

Proverbs 6:14, Frowardness [is] in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.

Proverbs 6:19, A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Proverbs 6:14, Frowardness [is] in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.

Proverbs 16:28, A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

Proverbs 26:20, Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

When the actions of someone causes discord, it is wrong. For me to introduce information that causes division in your home or your church is wrong. If it is not MY FLOCK, it is wrong.

3 John 1:9-10 says, I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words…

There are some “rookies” who would love to be the big shot, who love the “preeminence.” They are nothing of themselves, so they challenge and attack those veterans of the ministry who have faithfully built and served the people of God for generations.

Sowing discord is the issue. Unless it is endangering MY FLOCK, I need not spread information that sews discord. For me to separate good friends is wrong…unless it is something going on in my FLOCK. I am to take the oversight of MY FLOCK, not of your flock.

A young man asked me some serious questions about his life… 32 yrs old… I found out what his dad thought and would not have involved myself had his dad and I not seen eye to eye. That is not my son. Though he is a member of my church, the matter was a personal one, not church and not doctrinal. So, I wanted to be sure that the things I said did not cause discord with his father. In the family sense, he is NOT MY FLOCK.

A Bible college student calls me regarding dating … Somewhere in the conversation I dig out the opinions of dad and mom. That young person is their “flock” and I am a secondary influence. I do not have to agree with mom and dad… I can say, “trust your parents” and keep my mouth shut… remembering he is NOT MY FLOCK

I am very careful about what I say regarding colleges… There are some good young people who attend those colleges at the request of their parents or pastor. NOT MY FLOCK… Now, some of my own may be in that college… yet, I have guided them there and they have a pastor there, college administrators there, and other leadership there.

I have a shared responsibility with others… so I am careful not to sew discord among brethren. I do not want my college students running around campus saying, “Well, that may be what the pastor here says, but my pastor says…” Discord is now sewn and I want no part in it. That college is NOT MY FLOCK, at least not entirely.

When Proverbs 6 says God hates “he that seweth discord among brethren,” that is clear. But God does not hate when we get confused and our feeble brain misses some scriptural truth. We may be off a little yet be blessed. But we cannot be sewing discord and be blessed. So, if it is NOT MY FLOCK, I will leave them alone.

If it is not affecting my church, I will stay out of it. If it is not troubling my family, I will leave it alone. If it is not hurting my college students, I will keep my distance.

4. A WORD STUDY 

1Peter 4:15 says, But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

How about a brief word study?

“Busybody”. A Greek word allotriepiskopos

“One who takes the supervision of affairs pertaining to others and in no wise to himself, a meddler in other men’s affairs”

This is a simple word, but illustrate my point here well.

The root words are

1- allotrios– belonging to another foreign, strange, not of one’s own family, alien, an enemy

and

2-episkopos– translated as bishop or overseer

Remember earlier Paul wrote to the pastors in Ephesus to take oversight of the flock, their flock? That word overseer is the same root word used in busybody.

An overseer is a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done properly. Things done in his flock.

The episkopos is the superintendent, elder, or overseer of the church… HIS CHURCH or HIS FLOCK.

The first part of the word means things belonging to another. The second part is basically the word pastor.

No child of God is to busy themselves trying to pastor that which belongs to another. Be it their children, their church or their belongings. The things or events belonging to another are to be left alone. We are each given “oversight” of certain things, those things given to another are to be avoided. It is not our job to Pastor the flock of another.

I do not write tickets, the police do that. I do not go into the church down the road and stand up correcting their pastor, I do not fight issues, unless they are creeping into my church, then I am the overseer of MY FLOCK and I must address things. I do not try to straighten out the ideas in the flock of other men, that would be a busybody and that is forbidden.

Now I realize some rookies have lifted themselves up as the source of all doctrinal purity and they feel it their duty to correct pastors and church members all over the world, but be sure, it does not please God. If it is sewing discord, God hates it. If the flock belongs to another, God forbids it.

Dr. Bruce Goddard
Pastor
Faith Baptist Church
Wildomar, CA

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