August 11, 2014

The Church Is Not A Business and Pastors Are Not Employees

"Anyone we can hire, we can fire."

I actually heard a church member utter words to this effect at a business meeting once. He was referring to one of his pastors.

This kind of thinking is rooted in the idea that the church is a business and the pastors are mere employees. There's a word for this kind of thinking. That word is worldliness, and it's a form of sin.

The local church is the outpost of God's kingdom on earth (Matthew 16:18-19). It is God's household—his temple, his family (Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:15). Yes, the church is an institution. It has members and meetings. But the fact that it conducts business does not make it a business.

A local church, biblically speaking, does not hire its pastor. The congregation recognizes men called by God and sets them apart for ministry (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22). The congregation then supports those pastors—financially and otherwise (1 Timothy 5:17). Then the congregation must submit to those pastors (Hebrews 13:17). As long as the pastor meets the biblical qualifications (Titus 1:6-9) and faithfully carries out the duties assigned him by the Lord Jesus Christ in Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and as long as he is willing to continue in those duties, the congregation has a duty to follow his lead and make his job a joy (Romans 13:1; Hebrews 13:17).

Brothers, treating your pastor like a hireling is worldly and sinful. He is your brother in Christ, and, as long as he meets the biblical qualifications for his office, he is appointed by God to watch over your soul. You have no right to undermine or buck against his God-given ministry because you just don't like his style or because he's just not a good fit here. Those are not biblical reasons to remove a pastor, and complaints like these reveal the immaturity of those who offer them. Nor are these excuses for gossiping or forgoing church attendance.

If you are one of those good ol' boys who treats the church like a business and believes your worldly success ought to translate into power and influence within the local church, then you need to ask yourself a few questions: Why is it that I cannot bring myself to submit to those whom Christ has placed over me? Why is it that I find it so difficult to respect spiritual authority? Why is it that I use my minor differences with others as an excuse to forsake the regular assembling of God's people? Why is it that I refuse to view my pastors as my brothers in Christ? Is it, perhaps, because they are not my brothers in Christ? Is it, perhaps, because I'm not actually converted at all?

Brothers, our pastors protect us from wolves (Matthew 7:15; 1 Timothy 1:3-11) . Let's do our best to protect them from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Timothy 5:19-20). Don't let these unwitting agents of Satan cause division among God's people (Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10).

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