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Shepherd or CEO?

Are you a shepherd or a CEO? The CEO mentality appeals to many pastors. Some think it offers more validation, carries more weight, and sounds more relevant than “pastor.”

After all, CEOs have big responsibilities. They sit behind big desks and drive cars with big price tags. They are important people.

With a CEO mentality, the church becomes a business — shepherds become CEOs, ministers become business managers, and preachers become investment protectors.

It has been said,

“The Germans made the church a theology;
The Romans made it a government.
The Greeks made it a philosophy,
And the Americans made it a business.

Consider our preoccupation with leadership. I appreciate any good help I can get. But I do not think sounding the leadership theme is the magic we hope it to be.

Kevin Miller,executive vice president forLeadership magazine, in an article asked: “Are we Christians in North America overemphasizing the need for leadership in the church? He suggested, “By overemphasizing skills, we may underemphasize character. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, when we find giant leaders with midget souls.” He goes on to say, “Our near obsession with leadership, I suspect, stems as much from our culture as from Scripture.”

That’s the point. It is remarkable how little the Bible addresses the subject of leadership. It discusses saints, servants, and sacrifice but little concerning leaders. In fact, Miller pointed out that in 2,000 years of church history you find amazingly little emphasis on leadership skills. What you do find are exhortations to be people of prayer, service, holiness, and humility.

Miller ends his article by stating, “The sages apparently believed that God will raise up leaders; our primary workis to make sure the ones He raises up become like Christ.”

Are you a shepherd or a CEO?

I am not saying there is no value in bringing sound business practices into the church, although our objectives and our manner can never be the same. I am suggesting that there are dangers if we go down that road without keeping our mindsets and ministries in a proper theological framework.

The best answers to the questions, What is a shepherd? and What does a shepherd do? can be found in the Pastoral Epistles. This may not sound sophisticated or on the cutting edge, but I suspect the most modern marketing techniques are dull by comparison.

I am glad Jesus did not announce to the world, “I am the good CEO.” The description He chose for himself was, “I am the good Shepherd” (John 10:11,14). Christ is not our soon coming Chief Executive Officer. Peter reminded the elders, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:4).

The colder, busier, and the more entrenched in technology this world becomes the greater the need for shepherds.

As Charles Jefferson says in his little gem, The Minister As Shepherd, “Would you know then, the work of a shepherd? Look at Jesus of Nazareth, that great Shepherd of the sheep, who stands before us forever the flawless example for all who are entrusted with the care of souls.”

Are you a shepherd or a CEO?

DONALD HAWKINS, Limerick, Pennsylvania

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