Pastoring the Pastors

Church Leadership


by Joel Comiskey

The late Lyle E. Schaller was famous for analyzing and consulting churches. One analogy he invented to describe local church pastors was the Rancher / Shepherd comparison.

A ranch is a type of farm that raises livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The head of a ranch is the rancher, who also employs shepherds to watch over the sheep. Both the shepherd and the rancher care for the sheep; the difference is that the rancher prioritizes the shepherds who do the actual sheep caring.

Effective cell churches care for the pastors (coach the cell leaders). They avoid creating a dependency on themselves by developing cell groups leaders and cell coaches who minister to the sheep. In this way, the church can continue to expand because growth is not dependent on one leader, the local church pastor.

The role of the local church pastor in today’s cell church is to multiply himself in the lives of those who are leading cell groups. Sadly many pastor fall into the trap of solo pastor, doing it all themselves. Solo pastors manifest these characteristics:

  • Tries to personally satisfy all of the needs.
  • Believes that he is responsible for everything.
  • Participates in every meeting.
  • Depends on the compliments of others.
  • Does not delegate much.
  • Vision is limited by what he can do.
  • Sees the congregation as individuals and not as groups of people

Effective cell church pastors, on the other hand, refuse to pastor everyone individually. When someone comes for counseling to the rancher-type pastor, the first question is, “have you talked to your cell leader?” Effective cell church pastors:

  • Resource and serve the cell leaders who care for the church.
  • Develop supervisors / coaches to help in the pastoring process.
  • Delegate to leaders and then give them flexibility.
  • Desires that the people are free from dependence on the one pastor.
  • Prioritizes the team meeting where he ministers to the coaches/supervisors, making sure that the leaders are being coached.

What kind of a pastor are you?