Pastor of the People or Pastor of Christ’s?

controltowerLeadership Journal interviewed Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline (1.5 million copies). LJ asked Foster, “Dallas Willard once told you, ‘You need to decide if you are the minister of the people or a minister of Christ.’ What’s the difference?”

“Dallas knew that I was being pulled in all kinds of directions because of people’s expectation for a pastor. If I’m a minister of the people, then I’m controlled by what the people think and feel. If I’m the minister of Christ, then he is the one who calls the shots, and then I serve the people. Be a minister of Christ, then your work among the people finds its proper place.” (Leadership Journal, Summer, 2011)

When I fly I feel the pilot is serving me by taking me where I want to go. Yet, when he announces to us passengers that there’s a slight delay in departure because the tower says there’s seven planes ahead of us for take-off, I’m not tempted to try and talk him out of waiting. He wouldn’t listen to me anyway. It’s in my best interest, the best interest of everyone, that the pilot listens to the tower and not to the passengers.

I’m to remember, and it’s often difficult, that I’m to please Christ first, not the people in my church; by serving Christ I best serve His people. As I’m pilot to the people, Christ is my tower.