Leaving the Sheep and Lambs Vulnerable 


[Note: There are many good, Christ-centered pastors who are committed to Him and the Scriptures; however, there are also many who are drifting away from the Scriptures, and therefore also from Christ. This article is simply a warning of our need for discernment to know the difference in these turbulent times.]

There is an extremely dangerous trend that has been going on for a number of years. Men and women, trusting in their own wisdom and concerned about their own vanity, calling themselves “pastors,” yet neglecting to nourish and protect their flocks. Professing to have God’s heart for the lost, they cater to dogs, swine, and predators, leaving mere crumbs for the sheep and leaving the lambs as helpless prey. Professing to be “shepherds, they dismiss the Word of God to build “their” churches and bank accounts.

These so-called shepherds will say what they will, defending their practices and ways, but they have no defense before the living God who does not change. This departure from God and His Word is nothing new. The prophet Isaiah cries out against such persons of his day,

His watchmen are blind;  they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all. ~ Isaiah 56:10-11

I know of a church whose previous pastor retired. Now, as they “reconstruct,” by their own admission in an ad seeking a worship “pastor,” one who will cater to younger people, “woo people to Jesus” through their worship production, and draw people to the church by their great music. The new “pastor” of this church is now discouraging and forbidding Bible studies to take place in the facilities (mind you, this is a large building) because he wants only things promoting “outreach.” Outreach for what? The Gospel? The true Gospel is founded on, and rooted in, the Word of God. 

I know of another church whose pastor has not only been deceived by some wolves, but permitted the flock to be left vulnerable and scattered. I know of some, personally, who have been deeply wounded in the process, as these wolves have come in promoting lies and sucking life and finances like worthless parasites.

Many churches throughout America are more concerned about appeasing popular culture and growing their numbers, rather than honoring Christ and nourishing His people. My bringing up such issues is not popular. Some people think my writings are too negative. But my desire is to see Christians and churches return to the teachings of the absolute truth of God’s Word and to stop depending on their feelings,as well as to stop being guided by their deceitful and desperately sick hearts. But how will this happen when sick seminaries are vomiting out so-called pastors who do not believe in the trustworthiness of the Scriptures, therefore refusing to yield to the authority of God’s Word and, instead, vomit out worthless ideas and opinions onto the congregations?

Jude advises believers to contend for the faith which has been once for all handed down to us, then warns of false teachers who have “crept” in to promote damnable teachings advocating sensuality (v. 3-4). And Paul, who declares that the very grace of God “trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions,” and that Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness” (Tit. 2:12, 14). What can be said about many churches today? Is the very faith of which Jude tells us to defend, and the grace of which Paul tells us that trains us in godly self-discipline, truly being adhered to? If we are honest, do not many churches essentially teach the popular teaching of those who practice Wicca, “Do what thou wilt, but harm none”?

In many churches today God is not truly viewed and revered as being holy, holy, holy. Many so-called pastors cast doubt on both the Scriptures and the exclusivity of the penal substitutionary death of Christ, despite the fact Jesus fully endorsed the Scriptures’ trustworthiness and His being the only means of salvation. In many churches greed and covetousness are not condemned but endorsed, although Paul equates these with idolatry—the worship of false gods. Many show their approval of various forms of immorality, although the Scriptures condemn all forms thereof. (Yes, Jesus does touch on these, as He declares that from the very beginning God ordained marriage as being the unity of one man and one woman [see Matt. 19:4-6]). Although many like to claim that “we’re set free from the Law,” Paul tells us, 

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” ~ Galatians 5:13

Although many churches will profess having the “faith of our fathers,” many of these churches have jettisoned the faith a long time ago. As guilty as churches might be, mark my words that pastors who are falsely so-called will give account for misleading people, whether it was intentional or not.

The priests did not say, “Where is the Lord?” Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit. ~ Jeremiah 2:8

For the shepherds are stupid and do not inquire of the Lord; therefore they have not prospered, and all their flock is scattered. ~ Jeremiah 10:21

Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 23:2

And this is the real point of James’ teaching on taming the tongue, for he begins by saying, 

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness…. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. ~ James 3:1, 5-6

How many churches and lives are ablaze because of hellish flames of the false doctrines of people’s man-centered theologies and ideologies? Preachers, say what you will, but Jesus tells us plainly,

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. ~ Matthew 7:13-14.

Furthermore, Jesus warns us,

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. ~ Matthew 7:21-23

If you’re reading this and the Holy Spirit is convicting you, then now is not the time to resist and make excuses. Rather, the Spirit commands to repent. Preacher, are you feeding the sheep and lambs the Word of God or are you giving priority to your agendas and the beasts of the wilderness? Take heed, for God loves His flock, and He will punish those who starve, mistreat, and scatter them.

Encourage Your Pastor

One of the sad (but true) jokes in churches is that many families will have roasted pastor for dinner after Sunday’s service. However, the pastor who is genuinely called by God and is trying to lead a congregation in the ways of God has a tremendous responsibility. Furthermore, he does so many things behind the scenes ministering to others most are unaware of. Contrary to popular belief, pastors do far more than “just prepare for sermons and preach.” They serve as counselors and comforters, and many are on-call 24/7.

Pastors are not perfect (although they are to be godly). They have feelings and passions. They experience fear, sadness, discouragement, and anger. Many are husbands and fathers trying to be good In these roles (these are difficult for them too), and often people expect their families to be picture perfect. Dysfunction brings their calling, character, and credibility into question.

Pastors must deal with conviction and accountability to God for how they behave and handle the Word of God. They must deal with their own consciences making them aware of their failures and inadequacies. And pastors have “a target on their backs,”  more so than the average Christian, because if Satan can influence them to fall into gross sin and scandalous activities, then congregations can be divided, confounded, and even faith being shipwrecked of some.

I have read of the following statistics:

  • 97% of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused, or hurt by their trusted friends.
  • 70% of pastors struggle with depression.
  • 1500 pastors quit each month.
  • 10% will retire as pastors.
  • 80% of pastors feel discouraged.
  • 94% of pastor’s families feel the pressure of ministry.
  • 78% of pastors have no close friends.
  • 90% of pastors report to working 55-75 hours per week.

The primary tasks of a pastor is studying/teaching God’s Word and devoting himself to earnest prayer. Christians can say they “love God’s Word,” but pastors make a lot of people mad when they do truly preach God’s Word!

If you have a godly (albeit imperfect) pastor who strives to be faithful to Jesus Christ, His Word, and the Great Commission; and if he seeks to minister to the congregation and is burdened for the souls of people, then you are truly blessed. The Bible says this of such individuals:

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. ~ 1 Timothy 5:17 (ESV)

And,

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. ~ Hebrews 13:17

Do you give honor—even double honor—to your pastor? Or do you nit pick his flaws, give him grief because he did not call you on your birthday, and roast him because he preached against your beloved pet sin(s)? If the latter, how is this of any benefit to you? What gain is there in wounding and making the work difficult of one who loves you? Sadly, often pastors pour themselves out (sometimes at the expense of their families) only to meet with continual resistance, roasting, and betrayal from congregants. 

Do you pray for your pastor’s well being? Have you encouraged your pastor (and his family) lately? A gift, a note of appreciation, and the like could be of great encouragement to him. It might even be that needed spark to help him keep from giving up. Encourage your pastor. He experiences the stresses of life and loss, just as you, all the while putting these aside ad he tried to minister to others. The weight and burdens he carries with him you will never understand. He needs your prayers and encouragement more than you can ever know.