I have been thinking much about the essence of pastoral leadership in these days. In fact, my taste for the word "leadership" is not too robust - I think I prefer the term Sherpherd. The greek words used in the New Testament which describe church leaders are "presbuteros" or elder - connotating one with wisdom and grace to serve his people. "Episkopos" or overseer, one who must look after the flock and give an account. And finally, "poimen" or pastoring which describes the task of the elder/overseer. Leader is altogether missing albeit the biblical call upon men who are elders involves many things we modern folk would lump under the category of "leadership." In pondering this question I have been reading the Scripture, looking at the nature of the calling to ministry. First, we are definitely not qualified - none of us...we are only sufficient for the calling if he makes us competent to be ministers (See 2 Cor 3-4). In these wonderings about "ministry" I have also run into a letter written by a young Charles Haddon Spurgeon - one who would be called to be a pastor. He wrote the following:
I dread lest sloth or pride should overcome me, and I should dishonour the gospel by lack of prayer, or the Scriptures, or by sinning against God. Letters of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Selected with Notes by Iain Murray, (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1992) 20.Here is the heart of a Pastor who has seen his calling from the Scriptures... First, he writes I dread - O how we do not dread that our souls would fall away from the life giving streams of communion with Christ. The great enemies on two ends of the spectrum of minstry death should be dread in the life of a pastor. I fear I become lazy and dishonor my high calling; I fear I become proud and dishonor God. A forgiven person should never be proud and arrogant about the gospel of grace. I wrestle with and pray against both of these devils - slouching towards cold, flatline religion, and rising in my own mind to high pharisaical pride which binds fast a man in dead, lifeless, legalism. These two will overcome any man in pastoral ministry - they will floud him with idle thoughts and allow the heart to contemplate sin. Or they will make one think they are immune to the crumbling world around them. We must give great care and dread towards both sloth and pride. He then says we can dishonour the gospel - the great truth of God reconciling the world through Christ by amazing grace, by being prayerless and being far from the Scriptures. Lack of prayer shows that we do not feel a need upon our lives for God. That we can serve in the flesh and do things, holy and weighty things, in our own flesh. A flesh that is exceedingly lacking for the call and paths that wait upon the man of God. A man without the Scriptures shows he chooses to live off of his own thoughts, his entertainments, the words of women and men, rather than the words of God. Oh how many of us today live of the chirpping words of others and give great neglect to the words of God. How many belittle the spiritual impact of the Bible and give themselves to techniques and worldly counsel to give life to the soul. Sin - we all wrestle, no fight daily its summons. Come away with me for relief from the is walk of faith. Give way to this - it is your natural desire. Stoop down and cup your hands in the lakes of passion, resistance is futile - join the throng. The apostle describe faith as "FIGHT!" we must fight for our lives. We must beat back the slough of sloth, punish the pretense of pride, refuse to parade in prayerlessness and sip the nectar of the Scripture - or we will die. We will be washed away by the torrents of the times, by the world, the flesh, and the devil. Yet there is another path - and I seek it. Though I walk in the shadow of the greatest enemy; life does call and beckon from one greater. Do not walk in that way, do not give a step towards death - but rather - remain dilligent, humble, pray, search and eat from the living Word, and cling fast to Christ as if life depends upon him alone...for it most certainly does.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.Grace and labors, labors and grace...such is the path, one not without the other yet grace must reign as the dust labors. ... --------