Richard L. Mayhue, one of the contributing authors in the book, Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically, writes, “What is a pastor to be and do? We must look to God’s Word for answers and not to the latest fads or theories that find their source in society rather than in Scripture, or in culture but not in Christ” (p. 11). John McArthur in this same book states this regarding what a pastor is to be and do, “That concept of guarding the truth has largely been lost today. Yet pastors are guardians of the truth, responsible for keeping it pure and handing it on to the next generation…To sum it all up in five categories, Paul commanded Timothy (1) to be faithful in his preaching of biblical truth, (2) to be bold in exposing and refuting error, (3) to be an example of godliness to the flock, (4) to be diligent and work hard in the ministry, and (5) to be willing to suffer hardship and persecution in his service for the Lord” (pp. 19, 26). This tells us that the pastor must show us the way first and foremost by his life and how he follows the Lord. He/she must preach the truth at all times to help address not only the sins in our lives but the errors of belief and actions in the function and administration of the church. He must be an example of those things he teaches through the preached word. The pastor must also be diligent in the work of the ministry. This includes those areas that we might find mundane. He helps us to see how to slay the ego as we see it exampled before us. This is how Jesus taught the disciples. He did not only tell them how to live for him, but he showed them.
This now moves us to the administration of the church and the pastor’s role and the reason for the activities of the church. First, let us give a definition of church administration as given by the author Alvin J. Lindgren in his book, Foundations for Purposeful Church Administration, where he explains, “‘Administer’ is derived from the Latin, administrare, meaning literally, ‘to serve’…Administration, then, is not just activity, but purposeful activity, its purpose being determined in the context of a particular field of endeavor – business, education, church” (p. 22). The key word in this definition is purposeful. This means the pastor has the responsibility to eliminate the one-size fits all approach to programming and resources. The pastor must look anew and afresh at each situation and with prayer set in motion those things that need to be done. That means that he/she cannot simply keep doing something because it worked before, because it might not be for this time. “We have seen, then, that administration properly understood simply provides the means through which a group can fulfill its purpose. If we accept this major premise, then the discovery of the nature and purpose of the church is the necessary starting point for developing a useful concept of church administration…He must know where he is going and why, before he can decide how to get there. If some pastors and congregations have not seen the need for doing their biblical and theological homework before engaging in a project, it is because they have uncritically accepted goals and objectives dictated by a culture foreign to the gospel” (Lindgren, p. 25).
Churches are guilty of doing something simply because it has been done before. We plan our calendars a year in advance but we sometimes are not willing to allow the Spirit to change our plans for His. “Purposeful church administration is the involvement of the church in the discovery of her nature and mission and in moving in a coherent and comprehensive manner toward providing such experiences as will enable the church to utilize all her resources and personnel in the fulfillment of her mission of making known God’s love for all men” (Lindgren, p. 60). (Come back next week for the next installment).