Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
—Hebrews 13:17

Do you know what America’s last hope is? It is the local church. The preservation of our nation for the proclamation of the gospel depends on the effectiveness of local churches in fulfilling their mission. And then I want to go one step further. The effectiveness of churches in fulfilling their mission depends on pastors fulfilling their calling.

Today we will look at the role the pastor has in helping the church achieve its mission so that our nation can be preserved to proclaim the gospel. You know, no local church is any more effective in fulfilling its mission than its pastor is in fulfilling his calling. Why is the church so dependent on the pastor? In his book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” John Maxwell calls it the Law of the Lid. And the Law of the Lid is simply this: no organization ever rises above the commitment of its leader. I know today it’s fashionable to say, “The pastor is not that important in the church. He’s just one among many. You know, we’re all in this together.” Yet the fact is in 1 Timothy 3:1 the Bible refers to the pastor as the overseer, or the ruler, the leader of the church.

When God had a message to deliver to the seven churches in Asia Minor He did not address the letter to the pastoral oversight committee at the church at Sardis. No, he said, “To the messenger, the preacher, at the church at Sardis.” You can debate about church polity—whether it ought to be congregational, or whether it ought to be elder rule or this kind of rule or this kind of rule. It really doesn’t matter. Any organization has to have a leader. And in the church that leader is the pastor. He is the overseer, the ruler, the leader of the church. Now, if you are a pastor, your leadership of the church is not a privilege to be exploited but a responsibility to be fulfilled. The Bible says all of us who are pastors are one day going to give an account to God for how we led our congregations. In Hebrews 13:17 the writer says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” People who cause their pastors grief and sorrow and heartache are going down a dangerous path that will lead to unproductive results for them as well as the church in which they serve. If you are a pastor, God has given you the responsibility to help mobilize your church to be the salt and light God has commanded us to be.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “America’s Last Hope” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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