There is an important role within the local church that many people overlook, the local pastor. Most people fail to understand that the local pastor is a gift from Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12). The local pastor is given to mature the people of God in the things of God. In many passages of the Bible, the words used for pastor and shepherd are the same. This reflects local pastors are supposed to be shepherds to the sheep of the church. God gives pastors according to his heart to feed with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15). What if a person does not have a pastor? What is that person missing from God due to not being under the pastor God has for them? Pastors can provide peace and safety to the people God places under them within the local church (Jeremiah 23:4). Every Christian benefits from having a pastor. Even pastors should have a pastor to feed them the Word of God, give wisdom, and provide safety from spiritual enemies.
David, one of the most famous shepherds of the Bible, is a great example of what happens when people submit to a captain (like the local pastor). In 1 Samuel 22, David is in the cave of Adullam (which means testimony) and 400 men, not including their families, go to submit to him as their captain. Each of these people was either distressed, in debt, discontented or a combination of each. When these men submitted to David they became mighty men of valor with some having their names recorded in the Bible for their acts of overcoming situations within their own lives (2 Samuel 23). What if these men did not submit to a spiritual leader? Would they and their families have been saved from the issues they were in? Even if they could overcome those issues how much longer would it have taken without the leader God ordained to help them? If pastors are a gift from Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:11), why would anyone not take their gift and mature in the things of God? Many reasons come to mind such as laziness, rebellion, ignorance, religiosity, etc. but only Christians that do not have a pastor can truly answer for themselves. Not only is it important to have a local pastor but to submit to the one God has ordained for each person’s life. Think of the process David had to use to challenge these 400 men to push them in training, teach them to understand different subjects, and also help them grow in various areas of life. This is the true calling of a pastor. One saying of pastoring could not be more true, “If your pastor does not know your name, you do not have a pastor”. Many Christians will say they go to church or have a pastor but this is a religious answer to keep the false appearance of being a Christian when the truth states otherwise.
Now a challenge to pastors. Be the man after God’s own heart to lead the people much like David. Was David perfect? No, and neither will any pastor because they are still human. This does not give an excuse to not do the job God has called every pastor to fulfill. Be the feeder of the Word of God, the protector of God’s sheep, and the captain to challenge the people of God to become mighty men and women of valor for the glory of God. Every pastor is not called to shepherd the world, but to pastor the local church God has ordained him to lead.