Jesus Leaders Part 2: Pastors at their best

What makes a good pastor? In seminary I was told a good pastor knows Greek and Hebrew. Church elders told me a good pastor keeps the budget in the black and people in the pews. In part two of his post, Jim Martin, pastor of Crestview Church of Christ in Waco, Texas, continues his thoughts on good pastors (a.k.a. "Jesus Leaders").

We are at our best when we help move men and women toward the kingdom of heaven. Contrast this with Jesus' observation that some teachers of his day seemed to get in the way of people moving ahead toward kingdom living. In far too many churches there is a disconnect between the men and women in the pews and those who are leading the church. How tragic when the church appears to be ahead of the leaders. How tragic when those who lead no longer have a genuine pastoral heart for people. Not so with Jesus leaders. They shepherd people like Jesus.

We are at our best when men and women in the community can really be better off because of our ministry. How sad when human beings are worse off for having come in contact with a church leader. People get short changed and hurt when they are used and manipulated by ministers. Far too often, ministers' actions are fueled by personal insecurities instead of the Gospel. Meanwhile, Jesus leaders bring the security, joy, and peace of the Gospel.

We are at our best when the people in our church can trust our integrity. Jesus speaks of the importance of integrity in regard to what one says. Integrity means that we speak truth both publicly and privately. You can count on what we are saying. We quote people accurately. We do not present someone else's material as our own. We do not promise to repay a debt and then "forget" about it. Integrity is not about what we said in that last five-part series (complete with a nice PowerPoint presentation). Integrity is who we are when no one is looking.

We are at our best when we, as leaders, stay focused on what is most important. Jesus makes it clear that loving God and loving people are at the very heart of the law (Matt. 22:34-40). Yet, it is so easy to get focused on things that are relatively small in the grand scheme of things. Jesus leaders are focused on what is front and center. They will not be guilty of worrying about a gnat in the soup while they swallow something the size of a camel (Matt. 23:24). Do our ministries reflect that we are investing our time in what matters most to God?

We are at our best when through our ministry the hearts and lives of the people are changing. Unfortunately, too many of us are overly conscious of numbers. How many bodies were in the big room on Sunday? Meanwhile, Jesus spoke of his concern for the way things were inwardly. Are lives being changed? Are marriages and families being healed? We were never meant to be a people who merely looked the part while inwardly as corrupt as anyone else.

What kind of leadership ought to be present in a church? The answer is going to be found as we get serious about being Jesus leaders who both teach and do. That is when we are at our best.

September 18, 2006

Displaying 1–6 of 6 comments

ken kruithoff

September 25, 2006  7:28am

too true, thanks for your insights, this is a prophetic message to the sheppards of God's flock

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September 22, 2006  8:24am

Two images of Jesus' 'leadership' style stand out vividly before me. The first is Him derobing in the upper room so that he can wash the dirt encrusted feet and toes of His self-centered power-hungry disciples (including the one that would soon betray Him). The second, is His praying in the garden immediately prior to His betrayal, trial, and execution where He finishes off His plea for deliverance with the words "Yet not My will, but Thine be done."

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Jeff Russell

September 18, 2006  12:20pm

Christ came not to move "the group" or segment of society. Christ came to deliver a personal invitation to the individual heart. When we are motiviated by ?numbers" we are not properly motivated.

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September 18, 2006  10:35am

Both posts were excellent. Thanks for the refocusing encouragement. We as leaders must continue to be transformed by Christ and then live out in authentic relationships that transformation.

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Geoff Baggett

September 18, 2006  7:38am

Jim - Your points are excellent, and right on the money! Moving people toward the kingdom, improving relationships, acting with integrity, remaining focused upon what really matters ... these are the daily joys, and the daily struggles, of the local church pastor. Your last point was, however, the most moving one for me. You said, "We are at our best when through our ministry the hearts and lives of the people are changing. Unfortunately, too many of us are overly conscious of numbers." Aha! This is the proverbial "trap" of the pastorate. It is so hard to "compete" when our people turn on the TV and every church is a "mega-church." It is so hard to focus when every leadership and outreach-oriented magazine has cover stories on, "The Top 100 Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches," or "Inside the World's Largest Churches." We are, indeed, fighting a "Wal-Mart like" mentality within the local church today. I recently blogged on the traps of the mega-church trend at . I have planted and pastor a church in the south. We are not a mega-church. In a county of only 13,000 people, we never will be. But every Sunday, I look out at our congregation and see a group of transformed people. 70% of them were not in anyone's church five years ago! People who were once co-habitating are now married and in healthy family relationships. People once held captive by addiction are in recovery. People who just a few years ago were Knee-deep in "the world" are now leaders in my church! That is transformation! We have to look at our people as individuals ... one precious soul at a time. We should never get our focus diverted toward the prideful goals of pastoral super-stardom. http://www.missionmpossible.blogspot.com

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September 18, 2006  6:10am

I Corinthians 11:1 - "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."

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