Shepherd: The Role of A Pastor
Throughout Scripture God refers to Pastors as Shepherds and Christians as Sheep. Since God assigned those descriptions there must be a reason. Completing an in-depth study of the two, I reached the conclusion, that as sheep, Church members need to be cared for and protected just as a shepherd watches over and protects his sheep.
Twenty-first century Christian society has forgotten this role as some Pastors have set themselves up as demi-gods focusing on protecting themselves rather than their members.
If We Preach It, We Should Live It
Most Preachers will preach and exhort their members to obey the Word of God and live holy. However, some of those who preach it will purposely violate the same Scriptures by not ensuring their Churches are in Biblical order.
As I travel across this great nation, teaching Church Management and Tax Seminars, I have discovered that a large number of Pastors who want their members to obey the Word of God, do not apply that to themselves when it comes to the area of Church finances and obeying certain IRS regulations that pertain to it. They will purposely disobey the Word of God that instructs us to “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar;” or obey the laws of the land (Rom. 13:1ff). Violating these areas of Scripture is not only sin, but may also have civil or criminal consequences. Unfortunately, the Pastor is not the only person placed in jeopardy for these violations.
We Can’t Do Things Like We Have in the Past
Forty or Fifty years ago, Churches were fairly immune to any type of government intrusion – what happened in the Church stayed in the Church. Those days are over. The government is trillions of dollars in debt, and many ministries have taken advantage of the ministry and Church members. This has resulted in closer scrutiny by federal authorities which has resulted in imprisonment for many Pastors, Trustees, Board Members, and Church Treasurers.
When confronted with their lack of compliance many Pastors, Board Members, and Church Members, quickly invoke their belief that God is obligated to protect them even though they intentionally violate His Word.
If we disobey God’s Word, we exit the umbrella of His protection and God cannot bless or protect a mess. This includes all within the Church – not just the Pastor.
Responsible Party Provision
Board members and many congregations are responsible for penalties under the Responsible Party Provisions Act. Pastors who would purposely place their members in civil/criminal jeopardy by not ensuring their Church is in financial compliance, is not acting as Biblical Shepherds. Instead of protecting their flock, they are intentionally placing them in danger.
What A Pastor Should Do
As the Pastor goes, so goes the people. Pastors should take the lead in ensuring their Churches are not only Spiritually compliant, but also legally compliant. Pastors and Church Members are not qualified to do this. Just as someone not qualified in Scripture should preach, neither should someone who does not know Church Tax and Law do Church books. As good as local CPAs are for local small businesses and individual tax returns, they are not qualified to do Church books.
How We Can Help
Chitwood & Chitwood has 78 years of experience in keeping Churches and Ministers in legal compliance. At our Church Management and Tax Conferences we teach what is required and what steps Churches should take to get compliant.
Pastors who desire to be real Shepherds to their congregations will attend one of these conferences with some of their Board Members, and make the decision to stop operating out of compliance and get their House in order.
To attend a conference in a city nearest you, visit www.cmtc.org or call 800-344-0076 to register. This one-day conference will change your outlook forever.
Remember for us “It is a Ministry – Not a Job!”