A Pastoral Leader is a Servant (part 2)

March 1, 2011

If you missed part 1 of A Pastoral Leader is a Servant, you can read it here.

A Pastoral Leader is a Servant (part 2)

Now that we’ve seen Jesus telling his disciples to be servants, in John 21 we see Jesus responding to Simon Peter about why pastoral leaders should be servants.

You and I both know that Peter denied having known Jesus three times the night Jesus was crucified.  But when Jesus rises from the dead and comes back to talk with Peter, Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves him.  Peter answers yes, and all three times Jesus responds to Peter saying that because Peter loves Jesus, Peter should serve others.[1]

Jesus was the holiest person to have ever lived.  He is perfect in his love for us, and thus has authority to tell us that because we love him, we need to serve others.  This is further evidence that we, as pastoral leaders need to serve the needs of others.

This theme of serving others as a means to be their pastor is woven in and out of scripture.  Especially in the New Testament where Peter talks about what it means to serve others.

As we said earlier, Peter had denied Jesus three times and had to respond to Jesus’ questions about whether or not he loved Jesus.  1 Peter was written about thirty years after Jesus gave Peter the instructions to follow Jesus,[2] so we have good perspective to see how Peter has lived out pastoral leadership through Jesus’ serving instructions and to see what Peter is teaching others.

At the end of this first letter to Christians of the early church, Peter boldly teaches us to “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you.  Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God[3] (emphasis added).

A pastoral leader is to watch over her flock because she’s eager to serve God.  But, I am not the only person who has studied this passage of scripture and interpreted it as a reason for a pastoral leader to serve others.

[1] John 21:15-17

[2] D. Edmond Hiebert, The Non-Pauline Epistles and Revelation, vol. 3 of An Introduction to the New Testament (Waynesboro, GA: Gabriel Publishing, 2003), 121.

[3] 1 Peter 5:2

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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