Being a Pastor of a Local Church

Being a Pastor of a Local Church

Acts 20:28
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

The backdrop of this verse is the Apostle Paul departing from Ephesus and giving final instruction to the Ephesian elders. Paul was leaving a church that he had worked with for three years and held very close to his heart. The scene was quite emotional. A few verses later, this text says, “And there was much weeping on the part of all[1].”

What stands out here is the responsibility of pastors and elders in a local congregation. The calling to shepherd a congregation is one that demands careful attention. Pastors are called not only to pay careful attention to those they are shepherding, but also to themselves. Paul picked up this theme in his words to Timothy as well:

1 Timothy 4:16
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.  

As a pastor reading these texts, we see a continual need to keep a close watch on ourselves, remain accountable, and be connected to healthy relationships that can help us grow. At the same time, we are called to watch the flock closely because pastoral responsibility is given by the Holy Spirit himself. A church may “call” a pastor, a denomination may “assign” a pastor, and church members may even “vote” to receive a pastor into their congregation; but the biblical reality is that the mantle of oversight in the local church is Holy Spirit assigned.

The biblical reality is that the mantle of oversight in the local church is Holy Spirit assigned. Click To Tweet

That is a weighty reality, is it not? As a pastor, that should motivate me to keep a close watch on myself, my teaching, all the flock, and then some!

What does that responsibility entail?

“To care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

Pastors of local congregations, are accountable to God in caring for HIS church, which HE obtained with HIS own blood. Your church belongs to Jesus. He bought it. He owns it. He birthed it. He sustains it. He calls pastors/elders to care for it, teach his word, and shepherd it.

When pastors exercise oversight in a congregation–working to intentionally and clearly establish biblical patterns and principles of operation–Acts 20:28 is the reason why. It’s not always easy. In fact, it rarely is. Yet being a part of the church isn’t about things being easy, it’s about the reality that Jesus bought us with his own blood, and he calls us as his body to advance his mission wherever he places us.

Being the church isn’t about things being easy, it’s the reality that Jesus bought us with his own blood Click To Tweet

[1] Acts 20:37