There was a time in which congregations looked to the pastoral leaders of the church for leadership and guidance. It was often believed that when it came to matters of the church that the pastors knew best…after all, it is their job. Church members entrusted the vision, mission, and purpose of the church to their spiritual leaders. They expected the pastors to make wise decisions that were considered to be the best for the congregation…and they respected those decisions.
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. (Hebrews 13:17)
It seems like this concept is all but lost in todays church. With the rise of our individualistic society, many have become convinced that they know what is best for the church (it’s not just the church either…they believe they know what is best for every single thing in the world). I mean, what could a pastor know about ministry? While these folks have other jobs that consume the majority of their time, some congregational members believe that they possess all of the keys to church success.
I do believe that pastoral leaders should listen to, consult with, and consider what congregational members bring to their attention. However, I believe that pastors should shepherd. They should guide. They should correct and rebuke. After all, they are the ones who will be held accountable for what happens within the church. Pastors are not called to compromise and give in to whatever any one brings to them. Pastors need to stand up and lead. And, I believe that those in the congregation should trust, respect, and submit to the authority of their leaders.