If they call you pastor, then you have an awesome responsibility! God has given you charge over part of His Kingdom. He has
assigned to you the task of spiritual oversight of His children. Let’s talk about this awesome assignment of yours.
I want to focus on a verse that is good for us to be reminded by. Please read the verse of Scripture below. There is no doubt the
message is written to folks who sit in the pews; it is an admonition to them to recognize and submit to spiritual authority. But in
order to establish the need to submit to spiritual authority the writer of Hebrews develops the concept of spiritual authority at
least to a minimal degree. He accomplishes this by spelling out one
the most important aspects of the job description for Church leaders, and more
importantly and most specifically for pastors of local churches – the guardianship
of the souls of those entrusted to them by God.
One translation uses the phrase, “….keeping watch over your souls and
guarding your spiritual welfare….” (Amplified) I like the way this is worded
because it better spells out just what we as pastors are really all about. Jesus
designed His Church with intricate detail. He did not miss anything that could
possibly result in the failure of one of His little ones, even to the point of providing a spiritual covering designed to protect them.
I will develop this idea further.
What does it mean to guard the souls of those in your church? Like many biblical truths, this one is layered so as to mean
several things, and we will discuss each one:
1) The first layer or protection is truth. The most basic task you have, Pastor, is to develop your people in the truth of the Word
of God. You must feed them until they mature to the point where they can not only know the Word for themselves but they
practice the Word and it makes a difference in their lives on a day-to-day basis. Truth is a shield in that if one cannot be deceived,
the primary weapon of our adversary has been nullified!
2) The second layer of protection has to do with spiritual warfare by you on their behalf. You don’t just have ministerial
credentials that denotes you as a “Reverend;” you wear a mantle from God that signifies great authority in the spiritual realm and
along with that authority is the power of God in you to back it up. When you speak the heavens move because you speak with the
voice of God as it relates to your assigned sphere. When your voice blasts into the heavens – the voice of one in authority – and
you bind something, (forbid it) things stop; when you loose something (release it) things happen, just as Matthew 18:18 declares.
Can you see what must be done daily by you on behalf of your church family? Stand and fight on their behalf. Do not allow the evil
one to touch anyone under your charge!
3) The next layer of protection is very important but it is one not fancied by us who shepherd the flock of God, and that is the
task of bringing correction. The pastoral office is often compared to being a parent, and the comparison is a good one. When one
of our children misbehaves or simply does something wrong out of ignorance, we as parents do not have the prerogative of
whether or not to correct our child, we must correct our child if he is to mature properly. The same thing holds true as pastors. It
goes without saying that since as a pastor you will most likely be correcting adults, the manner in which correction is carried out
is of utmost importance. Love must be the overriding power in the conversation, and an undeniable sense of pastoral acceptance
must embrace the one receiving correction. To handle correction in this manner is to emulate our Lord Jesus. Correction is
guarding the soul of one of your sheep.
4) Lastly, you maintain protection for your flock through your own example of godly living. How does your example protect your
people? It protects them be establishing the acceptable standard for behavior and attitude. When they know right from wrong,
they are far more likely to steer clear of the evil one, are they not? In this way you are actually guarding your people by you godly
actions, your godly speech, and attitudes that look like Jesus.
Pastor, you are certainly one of the keys to the spiritual success of your church family members. As you faithfully carry out your
pastoral assignment of guarding the souls of God’s sheep, you set in place a protective barrier under which they can flourish and
grow and enjoy the rich benefits of our covenant with God. Understand your task and be diligent in it, Pastor, and receive the
blessings of Jesus because of it.
and be submissive, for they watch
out for your souls, as those who must
give account. Let them do so with joy
and not with grief, for that would be
unprofitable for you.