The Word Of God Is The Control Center For The Pastor

Pastors are called to be servants of the flock.  The congregation elects pastors.  The congregation calls pastors.  The congregation ordains pastors.  Since this is the case, it certainly sounds as if the pastor is accountable to the congregation, or is he?  

Let it be said that the pastor is obviously accountable to the church by the standards laid forth by the Apostle Paul in the pastoral epistles.  If he fails morally speaking or teaches false doctrine, the church certainly has the authority to remove him.  Because this is true, is the pastor solely accountable to parishioners?  In other words, where is the location of the pastor's control center for his ministry?  Does the pastor's control center rest in the opinions and suggestions of the congregation or himself?  Actually, the answer is, "neither."  

On page 188 of Eugene Klug's book, "Church and Ministry," he references Martin Luther and states, "God's Word is, therefore, the control center in a pastor's ministry.  Pastors are not to subject God's people to 'their laws and to the works ordained by them,' but to God's Word alone, and thus 'be ruled by faith' in that Word of God."  In other words, the pastor is called to publicly preach, teach and administer the sacraments according to the Word of God on behalf of the congregation and for the congregation.  

What this means is that there will be times where the pastor may find himself between a rock and hard place.  The congregation may want to have their ears tickled and the pastor may be tempted to do so because of subtle pressures that he feels from the parish.  He may be tempted to think, "I am called to serve; I better not upset the hand that feeds me." However, the pastor can never forget that he is called not solely to be a servant of the congregation but he has also been called to be a servant to the Word of God.  In other words, he is called to the Word of God and in light of the Word he is called to ministers to the congregation.  Klug, referencing Luther goes on to say, "Ideally ministers of the Gospel are such who 'with the grace received from Thee (God) further administer it to others' and who 'by expounding the Scriptures labor to bring out the bread of the Word of God, as the farmer brings bread out of the earth by tilling the soil.'"

Fellow pastors we serve our parishioners best not when we deliver the popular spiritual hype that is advocated by those that want their ears tickled.  Rather we serve our parishes best when we give them the unchanging and powerful Word of God that we have been called to.   Your control center is not the popular opinions of the parish, nor the popular trends found within North American Christendom, but the Word of God as expressed in our Lutheran Confessions.  Pastors, we are captive to the Word of God.