How do I view my relationship to the other Christians at Feltham Evangelical Church? What I am thinking of here is the issue of how my role as pastor bears upon how I consider my position in respect of the other believers.
The most fundamental relationship I have with the other members of Feltham Evangelical Church is that of being a brother to them. I am firstly and foremost a fellow Christian. This attitude is crucial to the proper exercising of the pastoral calling. Peter says to elders that they should be not lording it over those entrusted to you (1 Peter 5:3a). if I am a pastor first and foremost then the tendency is to be one who considers my relationship in the church in a lordly capacity. I am there for them to obey me.
When I consider myself as most basically as a sheep among sheep I can start to think about the proper and godly exercise of my shepherd role. After all if I know that I a sheep with all my tendencies of wandering into danger I am thereby able to be a shepherd caring for the other sheep.
It is interesting to consider the line that Paul took with Philemon in dealing with the situation of the once rebellious Onesimus who had now been converted. Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul – an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus – that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me (Phile. 8-11). Paul could have immediately gone to exercise his apostolic authority. Instead he would get alongside Philemon to plead with him as a fellow believer.
So fellow church leader we need to be careful as regards our attitudes to our fellow believers in the church. For godly other, there have to be times when it is known that we are “pastor”, but in the normal course of things we live and move as brothers amongst family.
(Originally published at Venabling on 13th May 2014).