Wanted: Prophetic Pastoral Leadership
If you are a pastor, or you are learning to be one, there are different ways of going about your assignment:
Pharisee: You are a religious professional. It’s clear that you have your job down pat. You know how to dress, how to act, and what to say to draw the greatest possible public benefit. Your social spirituality is perfectly practiced and shaped. However, you rarely pay attention to your interior life and any kind of authenticity has disappeared long ago. But as long as you can keep the religious machine running and keep everyone looking up to you, you are not much concerned.
Parasite: You copy every sermon, leadership style, organizational structure and strategy you can get your hands on. With the right URL’s, Magazines, Books and Conferences, you feel like you can do a good job. You live off the ideas and prophetic direction of others, and as long as you can access anointed people and ministries, you can feed off of their life without limitation. Unfortunately, there is little contextualization for your community, and you aren’t hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit tell you what He wants for your ministry—but you are more happy being a poor copy of a great ministry than being all of who God created you to be, because you are afraid who you are may not be enough.
Priest: You are the go-between, representing people to God and representing God to people. Though functioning this way can be birthed from a healthy desire to help others, it can subtly make you the most important person in the community, because nobody feels like they can get to God except through you. Furthermore, your role can become pigeonholed as “the one who does the God stuff” at special events and during crisis. The part of the Priest, misapplied, will lead to people having a greater dependence on you than on God (which some pastors like) and it will also control your every waking moment, since whenever people feel they need God, they respond by calling on you.
Prophet: You point out God’s Word to people, speaking the Lord’s heart with boldness so that those you lead will be pointed in His direction. You are also committed to representing God in the world as an ambassador, and helping other believers grasp and manifest the life of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. A prophet is one who urges others towards repentance and nearer to God.
We need more prophetic pastoral leaders: Those who hear the voice of the Spirit and speak to—and lead—their churches in response to His voice. I am not talking about absolute prophets who unilaterally declare God’s intentions, but prophets like we see in the New Testament who are submitted to the Word and to the community of elders as they lead the Lord’s people into the path God has intended for them.