Did you know that your pastor is responsible before God for you? That’s right. God holds your pastor accountable for your life and for your soul. Listen to what God says in Hebrews 13:17—
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who must give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
This is a sobering reality. Your walk with the Lord, your hidden sin, your spiritual growth are your new pastor’s responsibility and God holds him accountable for you. Now that is not to say you are not responsible for these things yourself—your sin is not your pastor’s sin as well. But God does hold him accountable for doing all he can to warn you, encourage you, teach you, and admonish you in all aspects of your Christian life.
The word translated “obey” here does not mean your pastor is to be like a king in your life whose whims you must obey. A better translation might be “heed.” Listen to him, carefully consider what he has to tell you. If you do so, God says it will be profitable for you.
The pastoral ministry is a happy and joyous one. I will confess that I still miss the joy of ministering to my own people each week. Not long ago I preached in a church in Pennsylvania on a Sunday morning and had the joy of watching a pastor who obviously loved his ministry. Before and in between the services (they had to have two morning worship services) this pastor moved among his people interacting with them. He sat next to an elderly woman and prayed with her. Two small children ran up to him and he kneeled down and hugged both calling each by their first names. A young couple cornered him to show off her new engagement ring. One rough looking man with long hair and a leather jacket enveloped him in a huge bear hug lifting him from the ground as he thundered a loud greeting. This pastor had a joyous ministry with a group of people who obviously loved him.
But sadly, I speak often with pastors for whom the joy of ministry has completely drained away. Not because they had not been faithful in the ministry God had given them, but because they were trying to lead people who would not be led.
This passage is addressed to you, not your new pastor. Let’s call a man who is committed to a vigorously biblical ministry, who will preach the Word, who will lead us through the changes we must make, and then let’s follow him.
Our new pastor would want you to know that he will give an account before God for YOU! Will he be able to do so with joy or will his ministry here at Calvary be a source of grief for him?