Feeding the Flock of God

And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? (Ezekiel 34:1-2).

Jesus is the chief shepherd, and pastors are also called shepherds in the New Testament. God derided the leaders in Israel because instead of taking care of the sheep, His people, the leaders were living in luxury and ignoring the needs of God’s people.

A pastor’s main call is to “feed the flock of God” (1 Peter 5:2KJV). My responsibility is to minister the word in such a way that it ministers life to the “flock.” Jesus placed the ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11) in the body of Christ for the express purpose of maturing believers so that the individual members of the body of Christ can do the work of ministering to their world.

Those who don’t understand the importance of the teaching ministry of Jesus through God- appointed pastors have a hit and miss attitude towards local church attendance.

If it was possible for us to be all we could be as a believer without the regular, methodical teaching ministry of a pastor, then why did Jesus go to all the trouble to place these gifts in the body of Christ in the first place?

There is a movement in our day away from the local church and into house churches. While I understand the dynamic behind this, I believe it is a serious error for the following reason. Where is the ministry gift of pastor/teacher that Jesus set in the church in a home meeting? Does every house church have in it a person that is set in the body of Christ as a pastor/teacher? If not, then how can a saint of God be all that he or she can be without fully utilizing Jesus’ appointed method of the pastor/teacher and the other ministry offices of apostle, prophet, and evangelist?

Para-church movements such as the home church initiative spring up when the local church fails in its mission. Many pastors have shirked their responsibility to feed the flock God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to manifest as He desires.

As a pastor I have a heart for the flock of God. I teach the Word because of the biblical mandate I have as a shepherd to feed the flock. I encourage you to take full advantage of what Jesus has established for your spiritual nourishment. Get involved deeply in your local church and allow the teaching ministry of the pastor/teacher to transform your life! Your maturing and finding your place in God’s family may mean the difference between heaven or hell in the lives of those that God has ordained for your life to touch!

2 thoughts on “Feeding the Flock of God

  1. Hey Pastor Mitch!

    I'm glad someone mentioned the house church movement as I would like your take on several things.

    The reason that people are leaving the church isn't because the local church isn't doing its job; it's because many in the house church movement do not believe in a top-down, hierarchical structure as we see today.

    They do not believe that a "pastor" as we know them today even existed; the "pastor" was a function and not an office per se.

    Therefore, for these house church types, someone in the group will eventually grow organically into any gift that is needed.

    This is put forth by Rhema graduate and house church proponent John Fenn in his book "Leaving the Church to find God."

    Besides, the structure of today's church leaves a little to be desired due to the strong, top-down, CEO-oriented leadership style which is opposite of what Jesus intended.

    Personally, I was at one time a proponent of house church because of the issues I just mentioned but what turned me around was Ephesians 4:11. If these are gifts given to the church for its edification, then how can a small group of believers gather and expect to be equipped when none of them may have the gifting of the five-fold?

    At the moment I am looking for a church and this blog is sure feeding me. Sort of a "long-range" pastoral care type of thing.

    For this, I am appreciative.

    What are some more of your thoughts about house church?

    In Him,

    Gary Maxwell

  2. Thanks for your comments Gary. My associate pastor was involved in small group meetings, "house churches," for many years. He too has seen the issue from both sides. He noticed that many of those involved in "house churches" had issues with authority in general, and then the lack of spiritual accountability over the long range tended to limit spiritual growth and maturity. Then there is the issue of what it says to children about their spiritual lives, accountability, authority, etc, if they are raised in a "house church" setting.

    Understand that I'm not trying to be"against" something here. I'm just contending for God's best. My view is that you can do "church" in such a way that people can grow and flourish spiritually, find their giftings, and grow into God's purposes for them.

    My ministry gift is that of pastor/teacher. I have a leadership team consisting of advisors assisting with financial matters, and then a team of people assisting in ministry. Though I am senior pastor, through delegation I allow other to perform many of the functions normally allotted to the senior pastor. That helps others grow into their callings.

    Also, here at Victory we have a network of small groups called LifeGroups where people can develop close meaningful relationships, and in these groups leaders emerge.

    Another thought about "house churches" is that there is a principle of multiplication involved when people unite under a common cause. God separated the people at the tower of Babel in Genesis 11 because of the sheer strength of what can be done when people unite under a common cause.

    A strong local church can be a strong visible representation of Jesus in a community. Believers joining their resources together can have a greater impact in the world than they can individually. Our church supports 25 missionaries and missions agencies worldwide. We have 13 church under our name in Ethiopia, all because we work together as a team.

    I can go on and on here, and there are many things to discuss about the local church. Certainly there are pastors who, due to personal deficiencies, do great harm to the body of Christ in how they fulfill their God given mandate to pastor. So many themes could be spoken of here in great detail.

    My heart is for people to grow spiritually, find their place in God, and then fulfill His will for their lives.

    Gary, I pray that the Father places you where you can best grow and serve Him!

    God Bless.

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