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In dealing with congregations as a Christian leader, I am constantly having to remind them that God has set in the church different ministries, administrations, and operations.

There are many who don't see the separation in these things. Many can't even understand that God set some in the church as leaders and some as helpers. Some lead and govern. Some follow and help.

As I travel from church to church, I like to remind congregations that their pastor has a small advantage over them. He has been both shepherd and a sheep. The average Christian knows what it is to be a lamb or a sheep, but very few of them have ever been given a pastor's heart and appointment.

However, every pastor has lived on both sides of the fence. He has been a member of the congregation and also a member of the pastorate. He knows what it's like to sit under pastoral leadership, and he knows what it's like to be that leadership. No pastor was born a pastor. Most pastors still remember what it is like to be in the sheepfold; therefore, they can still accurately understand and relate to sheep.

This dual view of the Kingdom does not belong to every believer because they only have experienced one side of the fence—sheep to shepherd. The average Christian has no idea what it is like to carry the load of pastoral responsibility; therefore, they need to be taught how to relate. Because most of them have never been a pastor, they can't rely on their memory or experience of the pastorate to help them relate.

Don't ever say your pastor doesn't understand, can't relate, or doesn't know what it is like.

Pastors are people experts! A man who has been set in the office of pastor by God will have a pastor's heart (see Jer. 3:15). Because he has God's heart, he begins to respond to people and their problems as God would.

God created humanity; therefore, He is the highest authority on the provision, study, and behavior of humanity. If He puts His heart in a man and calls him a pastor, then that man becomes keen and wise to the details and elements of people.

A Specialist
I like to illustrate it this way. If you have a severe heart problem, you will go see a heart specialist for advice, medication, and perhaps even surgery. You wouldn't dream of allowing your best friend to work on your heart with his pocketknife—not even if he read two books and listened to several tapes on the subject or even if he graduated from a nine-month, super-cram course!

It's your only heart, and you want to live, so you want a specialist—an expert. I buy insurance from my insurance agent because he not only is well-educated in the subject but also experienced. That is all he does day after day after day. So is it with my auto mechanic, my financial accountant, my doctor, my dentist, and so on.

Why is it we allow all of these licensed, well-trained and highly-experienced professionals to operate so well in their offices and submit ourselves to them so completely? Yet when it comes to pastors and the church, it's a free-for-all?

Don't you realize that a pastor has been educated and has studied hard to be a pastor? Don't you understand that he is licensed to do what he is doing? Don't you know God has set some in the church as leaders? Don't you realize that all your pastor does every day is work on people and their problems? He is an expert at it!

Sure you may have read some of the books he has read. Sure you may have listened to the same tapes he has listened to. Yes, I know you have prayed for some and counseled others. Of course you know the Scriptures and you've been to church. Sure your pastor serves the same God you do.

You see, we are talking about the difference of a well-trained, experienced, approved, and licensed technician compared to a backyard mechanic. One has the right tools, manuals, proper conditions, know-how, experience, and parts, while the other works under the much lesser conditions with cheaper tools and not-quite-so-precise results.

Somewhere near you is one of the best auto mechanics in your city, but if all your car ever sees is your garage, it's deprived. So is it with your soul.

I believe it's fair to say that God wants all of us to be sheep. He wishes that none would perish but that all would come to repentance. He sent His only begotten Son for the world, not just to a select few.

Even realizing this, we know that some have not yet responded, some have left the fold, some have gone shipwreck in the faith, and so on. The result, of course, is that not all are good little lambs. There are also goats and wolves in our pastures and among our flocks.

Anybody knows you can't handle or relate to a sheep the same way you do a wolf. There are different ways to communicate to and respond to these different beings.

If a church family is relating to everyone exactly the same, then they are confused over goats, entertaining wolves, and probably abusing the sheep. This, of course, is also true with our Christian leaders. We must learn to know the difference between sheep, goats, and wolves and be able to deal with each accordingly.

Let me Illustrate:
The body of Christ went through a season of over-attention to the devil. We began to say that everything that caused ungodly results in our lives was a demon or spirit. We began to have deliverance services, and the demons got more attention than God. Much of the time the people were not getting delivered but confused.

Now understand that there are demons, and there is legitimate deliverance in the blood of the Lamb. At the same time, there is a lot of foolishness and immaturity. Many people who had problems would go to get help. The "helpers" weren't able, most of the time, to discern between flesh and spirit. Therefore, they were trying to cast out everything.

I think we have learned that you can't cast out flesh and you can't discipline spirits. If we have sin in our lives or lusts or bad habits, they need to be dealt with, discipline needs to be applied until we overcome, and so on. However, if there truly is a demon, it can't be disciplined or worked out. It has to be cast out.

Simple facts: You repent and turn from sin. You cast out evil spirits. It won't do you any good to cast out that flesh problem of yours or repent of that demon. We must learn to know the difference between sheep, goats, and wolves and also to recognize hirelings from true shepherds.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness..." (2 Tim. 3:16).

Copyright © Mark Barclay Publications
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Mark T. Barclay
Web site: Mark T. Barclay Ministries
Mark T. Barclay is known as a Preacher of Righteousness. He is a proven, precise leader among ministers worldwide. God has anointed him with a severely accurate prophetic ministry.

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