I listen to podcasts all the time. Recently on one of my favorite podcasts, the host made the statement that a church often takes on the passion of its leader. In other words, if the pastor has a passion for prayer, the church becomes a praying church. If the pastor is highly evangelistic, the church becomes an evangelistic church. Makes sense, right?
I’ve heard similar statements before, but when I heard it the other day, a light bulb came on. I have often agreed that a church takes on the passion of its leader, but I had a new realization of an old truth. If Jesus is the leader of His Church, then shouldn’t the church take on His passion? Shouldn’t the Church of Jesus Christ desire to accomplish the same mission as Christ?
To say that a church can have the passion of its leader and that leader’s passion may not be the same passion as Jesus is just plain heresy. A pastor is simply an “under shepherd” for the flock of God. The pastor’s job is to lead God’s people in burning with His passion and accomplishing His mission.
Yes, Jesus prayed. Yes, Jesus evangelized. Yes, Jesus taught. Yes, Jesus cared. Yes, Jesus did all of those things, but he did those things because he was passionate about making disciples! Jesus never forgot the main thing. Anyone leading his movement should never forget His mission.
I have been a pastor for over thirty years and I am more convinced than ever that my role as a pastor is to keep the church I lead on track with the mission Jesus gave us. The Lord may have called me to lead a local body of believers, but I am not the leader, I am following Jesus.
When I finish pastoring on a full-time basis, my hope is that I will not have led the church I lead to take on my passion, but the passion of Jesus as our true Leader and Founder of our faith.