From the first Sunday Exodus gathered, every pastor has introduced himself with some form of, “I’m one of the pastors here.” It’s a culture-shaping statement and we get a lot of questions about it.
But, what does it mean to be “one of the pastors here”?
Well, first it means that we are a team. The theological word for this is “plurality”, and it is the model for elder leadership in the New Testament. Paul tells Titus to appoint elders in every place (Titus 1:5). Not just one elder, but a team who would take on the responsibility of leading God’s people.
This team of biblically qualified men must serve under the leadership and authority of Jesus, the Chief Shepherd. The plurality of elders in the church is to serve from a place of sacrificial leadership. When this happens, the way of Jesus is most clearly seen by His church through the leaders he has called and equipped to serve.
Third, it means that we are called to do some specific things.
- Lead as a Shepherd – 1 Peter 5:1-3. Peter is careful to say that this leadership is not to be heavy-handed or domineering. It is to be sacrificial, eager, and flow from a love for the Church and its Chief Shepherd. This leadership will involve oversight, leading, and care (i.e., praying for the sick, etc.).
- Guard the Church like a Shepherd – Acts 20:28. Elders are to lay down their lives for the sheep in such a way that they can protect the Church from ravenous wolves that will enter and try to devour and lead astray the sheep. Elders are called to defend, protect, guide, and watch over the Church.
- Teach to Equip and Train – Ephesians 4:11-12. Those who are given to preaching and teaching are to do so in such a way that will equip the saints for the work of ministry. Only when every member of the Body is growing and serving will the Church reach maturity in Christ. Elders are to multiply their ministry through the serving members of the body. Not all elders would be required to hold the primary teaching ministry of the Church. However, they must be able to hold the faithful word in such a way that they are able to use it for training the people. This may be done in a counseling environment, a medium group teaching session, or in the assembly. The Elders must guard the place of preaching and teaching in the life of the Church from error and derision.
Finally, it means that we will give an account for how we lead (Hebrews 13:17). Your pastors will stand before God for our souls, the souls of our families, how we have led our church, and the souls of those who have entrusted themselves to our care.
So, when we say, “I’m one of the pastors here,” it means that we are men who have been granted responsibility for the church of Jesus here at Exodus. We want to be faithful to do this in a way that honors Him.