Pastors!! We are guilty of the greatest sin in the churches. If you do not know what “Lording over the flock” is, then you are most probably doing it! STOP!!
You call yourself an “overseer” and an “undershepherd,” because you gain these titles from Scripture; but you have more than likely learned the wrong connotation of these terms. To oversee in the correct sense of the word (according to Thayer’s Lexicon) is “TO LOOK OUT FOR; CARE FOR,” not to train for professional ministry, administrate, organize, manage, direct or determine “usefulness.” YOU DO NOT lead the flock to build a church, so that the entire world someday will be going to church. You care for the health of the flock, so that the flock is GOING OUT into the entire world!! You do NOT control opportunities of ministry. The Spirit does! You SERVE the Spirit in each believer… calling out His gifts you see, nurturing the believer to learn and maintain a direct connection with their true Lord and Director, the Holy Spirit! In that healthy state, God also will work in them and through them to minister to / build up their fellow believers.
Your only & true goal as a minister is to equip the believer for the Great Commission / Ministry of Reconciliation IN THE WORLD, where God has called them (1 Corinthians 7:17ff). He HAS NOT called and WILL NOT call them to build YOUR MINISTRY. And, should a believer be falling or failing, you are to SERVE them by seeking to restore their faith, hope & love! That is what a pastor does.
The best thing you can do, Pastors, is cut all your programs, budgets & plans immediately!! Then, repent openly of “Lording over the flock” and start teaching on the gifts of the Spirit and their functions; and start teaching on what it means to tune into and maintain a vibrant connection to the LORD! Follow that up by teaching the most basic Christian doctrines and their defenses in the face of today’s attacks. Finally, teach the believers how to read, study and interpret the Bible for THEMSELVES, instead of being reliant on your spoon feedings. That is plenty of work that requires a lot of prayer and study. Get to it!!