Church Planting Lesson #18: It’s tempting to become a Pharisee

LESSON#18:  It’s tempting to become a Pharisee

As I am preparing to teach on qualified leadership (1st Timothy 3), I was reminded of a paper I wrote several years ago titled, “No More than Jesus, No Less than Jesus.”  It was written for a board that I was a part of from another church about whether or not the elders should be allowed to drink alcohol.

I don’ t post this paper to bash anyone or open up old wounds, rather, to show what can happen when well-intentioned leaders forget how to lead.  At the heart of the paper is a call for pastors/elders/overseers to remember what how they are called to lead AND how tempting it is to become a Pharisee.  Why?  Because having rules that tell you what to do every moment is easier than asking God, “What is most Glorifying here” every moment.

The Bible describes Eldership as an office filled by men, called by God, and possessing incredible responsibility. God charges us as shepherds to tend the flock; among other things this includes helping them discern what is right, wrong, good, evil, primary, and secondary. Not based on man’s judgment, our discernment must be sourced in God’s revealed Word through continual illumination by God the Holy Spirit. In fact, it’s not essential that our positions on doctrine or other issues need necessarily always be rationally or emotionally satisfying, as long our positions are unapologetically biblical.

Knowing this, we must be able to distinguish between man’s wisdom (foolishness) and God’s wisdom (truth) and must not be led astray by what we think or feel as opposed to what God has clearly said. The congregation of the church will look to its leadership for an example of how to live, for clarity and instruction. Any stance we take or position we hold will communicate something about our values and ultimately our understanding of God.

READ THE WHOLE PAPER HERE: no more than Jesus


Author: Sam Ford

Sam Ford is a preacher, planter, and pastor from the Pacific Northwest. He is currently pastoring Restoration Road Church in Snohomish, WA.

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