1 Peter 5:1-4 (NIV)
5:1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
5:2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–NOT BECAUSE YOU MUST, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; NOT GREEDY FOR MONEY, but eager to serve;
5:3 NOT LORDING IT OVER those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
REASONS NOT TO PASTOR A CHURCH!
1. COMPULSION. (“…not because you must…; v. 2)
I’ve heard many people/pastors say God “forced” them to become pastors. That is, it is against their wills that they become pastors. As little as I know of, there is NO such example in the Bible. Arguably, circumstances can make you have no other choice than accept God’s call for your life. I’m a witness of this. But, this is NOT the same as saying God FORCED you. No! God only convinces gently and He makes you willing.
That is God’s Nature! That said, I met many colleagues in the seminary who were coerced to attend by their parents for whatever reasons. Some were sent due to their wayward/stubborn lifestyles with the hope that they will change. Some were sent so they can be ordained in their own churches. Some were forced to attend the seminary because they are certain this child of theirs has God’s call upon his/her life. However, often times, many of such children have no interest (at least at that moment of their lives) in theological education so it sometimes results in waste of time and resources.
The motive might be godly but such action is not. The Bible says that people should be persuaded in their own hearts, not that someone else is persuaded on their behalf. That’s said, some of these people end up as pastors even when they do not have the inner conviction.
Some are FORCED to become pastors by their churches/denominations. They are ordained to lead a local church probably due to lack of personnel. These set of pastors are used to plant branches or head churches because the church sees them as the “most qualified”. The qualifications here differs from church to church. They include charisma, oratorical skills, Bible knowledge, wealth/money, status in the place of work, contributions to church growth, etcetera.
They do NOT have that inner conviction but they have to obey the GO/President because s/he said it is God’s work. They grudgingly accept when pressure is mounted on them. They are consistently accused of rejecting God’s work and thus they are manipulated to agree with the vision of the GO/President which he gave in God’s name. At least, it is God’s work. Why reject it? In fact, once there is any slight trouble, he is reminded of his refusal to heed God’s call.
What am I trying to say? DO NOT BECOME A PASTOR OUT OF COMPULSION.
2. MONEY (…not greedy for money…, v. 2)
Some are called to be missionaries or evangelists. Some are called to be teachers/catechists. However, some church settings do not adequately remunerate such labourers. Thus, in such settings, everyone goes for the pastoral ordination. This is UNFAIR!!!
In some settings, you are not duly promoted unless you’re a pastor. I’ve seen lecturers end up as perpetual juniors to their own students (whom they taught in the seminary) when they resumed pastoring and thus earning far less than their students. This discrimination makes many rather opt for pastoring even when their calling is to train pastors.
Beyond that, there are pastors who lobby and bribe so that they are transferred to richer churches. This, they believe, will boost their income. On the other hand, there are pastors who would rather pull out and start their own church to being transferred to a church where they will earn less.
There are prophets and evangelists who have planted their own churches. They want all the monies collected during the programs to be theirs whereas they are not gifted as pastors. They take on the role of pastors in the church they plant, contrary to God’s blueprint for their ministry.
Pastors sometimes enjoy more during Feasts, Anniversaries, Thanksgivings, Payment of Vows, Ceremonies such as Burial, Naming and Wedding, etcetera. They may get more monies, foodstuffs, gifts, etcetera. In some churches, they have Pastor’s Appreciation Sunday and it’s a day of immense financial benefits to some pastors. I have seen pastors gifted with car, house, suits, hundreds of thousands of naira, etc., on such days. This can be enticing and some feel like “Chai, pastors are enjoying o”. Then, they begin to contemplate becoming pastors.
NEVER PASTOR A CHURCH BECAUSE OF MONEY OR TO HAVE MORE MONEY.
TRUTH IS YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH MONEY!!!
3. POWER (…not lording it over…; v. 3)
Authority comes along with pastoring. Peter called Pastor “Overseers” in this passage and it has to do with authority over others. As a pastor, I have sent people old enough to be my uncles on errands for the church. How? I get orders from the higher authority, pass it on and they obey. As a pastor, I prefer doing church chores during weekdays when members are at work because if they are around, they won’t let me do it. These are men by far older then me. There are women older than my mother who sweep the church alongside me (because I will NEVER release the broom I’m using to anyone). If I told the church that we are washing the auditorium and chairs by 9am on Saturday, these men and women will come and help in the cleaning exercise.
Why am I saying all these? Just to show how much authority is vested in a pastor sometimes. This authority also boils down to doctrinal issues. A pastor, in many cases, have the final say in doctrinal issues in many churches. He can be questioned but his answers is held to by most members. In church finances and budgets, a pastor also has a say. And, often times, a pastor has the final say in some of these matters.
Some also wish to exercise this level of authority and rather that they start a business venture or company so they can exercise such authority, they open a church. The prestige that comes with the authority also makes some desire to become pastors. I have, in my single life, met ladies who tell me that they love to marry pastors, not because of the sacrifices attached to the work or the love for souls. No! They love to be called “Our Mummy”, “Mummy GO”, “Pastor Mrs.”, etcetera. From such women, Dear Future Son, from such women, FLEE!
People who love to honoured by men, who love to sit at the high table, who love recognition, who love that others are at their beck and cl, who love to have people serve them, and the likes, are DANGEROUS for the pastoral ministry. Wives of Senior Pastors who order their Husband’s Associate or his wife around. Pastors who always want their members to work professionally in Church for free. Not that the member says he wants to work for free but they request for free services. All these are results of those who pastor so as to have PROMINENCE over others.
DO NOT BECOME A PASTOR BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BECOME A DEMIGOD OVER OTHERS!