CEO …or Shepherd?

Posted by on Feb 1, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The term “Leadership” has become so popular that many pastors have taken the old description and molded the new progressive paradigm model that has little to do with true Biblical ministry and more about a Corporate model.

I remember my childhood image of pastors in days gone by.  They wore sharp clothes, suits & ties, French-toe shoes, drove Lincolns or Cadillacs, lived in well-furnished parsonages.  They rubbed shoulders with the hierarchy of the city, went to conventions, and ate in restaurants.

But after one year into the ministry, driving a car that got 30 miles to a quart of oil, living in a parsonage furnished with used furniture, and praying for food and clothes to wear … my image smacked with reality!

This did not resemble the life of a CEO, but more like a shepherd living with the sheep.

  • Sheep do not have good habits.
  • …cannot protect themselves.
  • …have to be cared for 24/7.
  • …get into fights with one another.
  • …get scabs, mites and disease.
  • They smell bad!


But a shepherd has a heart for his sheep… even the worse ones, he calls by name.  He treats them all equally well, and will even lay down his life for them.

There is a new trend in ministry that troubles me greatly.  Instead of shepherds, many pastors function like Chief Executive Officers.  They are office leaders who make arbitrary decisions rather than with a consensus of the whole.  They visit hospitals sparingly and rarely in-home visits.  They have no idea of the environment in the homes or neighborhoods in which their constituents live.

They control according to their liking.  If someone disagrees or acts up in some difficult way, they ignore them, exclude them, and hope they will go away.  I have known some who boasted about how they “got rid of certain unruly members!”  They operate their church as if they owned a private business, sharing ownership with a few, expecting the majority to accept their brilliant decisions.  Some have growth, but the ceiling is very limited.

This is what Jesus confronted with Peter after the resurrection (John 21:15-19).  Peter had obviously been reconciled, but now it is time to inaugurate his ministry.  When Jesus said, “Do you love Me more than these?”

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He was speaking of the 153 fish.  Very quickly Peter answered tentatively, but then came the kicker… “Feed My Lambs.”

Peter was not expecting this.  He had been a commercial fisherman, a BUSINESSMAN, a CEO —not a smelly shepherd.  They were weird outdoorsmen.  You could smell them a block away  Jesus was ordaining Peter as a shepherd; surely there was an executive office in the Church for him.

Pastors!  You have been called to be a shepherd, not a CEO!  Your sheep may be as dumb as a rock, but your responsibility is to care for them.  Your pulpit and teaching is only a part of that care.  When they become cast down, you have to rescue them.  They may bite and butt around other sheep, but you have to deal with them.  They are not perfect… and neither are you.

Peter made the transition as evidenced in I Peter 2:21-25; 4:7-19; and finally in I Peter 5:1-4 (NKJV) …

1) The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed;

2) Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;

3) Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

4) And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.


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