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With the internet, people have access to teaching and preaching from anywhere it can be downloaded. Although there are obvious benefits to this, there is one unfortunate development.

Whether you can’t get enough of Piper, MacArthur, Sproul, or Furtick, or you find yourself diving deeper into eschatological rabbit holes or conspiracy theories, the consequence has left the local church leadership seeming much smaller in comparison to so much that can be learned. Christians have become “experts” in their theological preferences and before long, many have fallen into the temptation of elevating their ideas to that of their leadership.

Imagine playing on a football team where every time there was a play called, the players would only execute the play with their teammates so long as they agreed with it. We would not expect that team to do very well.
The church is a cooperative effort, but there is an authority structure that is essential to the accomplishment of the Church’s goal (to spread the knowledge of Christ to a world of unbelievers).

Church leadership (whether it is a senior pastor or a board of elders) is the “quarterback” of the local church. These men are tasked with leading the church so that she can accomplish what Christ commanded his church to do: things like evangelism, caring for the weak, baptism, discipleship, and the Lord’s supper.

Of all of these activities, discipleship is at the heart of the rest. Elders and pastors teach faithful men who will be able to teach others (2 Tim 2:2). But what if the pastors and elders have a congregation full of people who refuse to be discipled? Just like the illustration, we would not expect that church to do very well.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17


It is great to have the resources of great teaching and preaching that we have, but your pastor is still your pastor. The online pastor is not. That pastor will not give an account to Christ for your spiritual development.

As our church leaders seek to accomplish the goal of discipling us to grow into all that Christ intends, let this be a reminder that they will be judged for how well they shepherded, but you will be judged for how well you subjected yourself to their leadership.

According to 1 Peter 5:3-5, elders are examples to the flock, and the flock is commanded to be subject to their leadership.
This subject is rarely broached because elders want to avoid coming across as “domineering” (1 Peter 5:3), but it is a subject that needs to be addressed due to the effects of our digital culture.

Now that being said, pastors should always be open to questions people have about how or why a thing may have been taught to them. In no way am I suppressing skepticism. Rather, I hope to suppress cynicism. Young believers love knowledge and just like any adolescent (spiritual or physical) sometimes the glory of their own opinions can blind them to their insubordination. It is the duty of parents to correct that kind of attitude and pastors must correct it as well. The difference is that the kids can’t leave the house.

Most people who leave the church feel they are right in doing so. They are justified by their opinions of themselves and when the elders disagree with them, they take their leave. From my own experience, I would say that 80% of the people who have left churches where I have pastored have left because they didn’t get their way. The reason they believed they had to leave was they were right, and the leaders were wrong. But the deeper reality was that they did not honor their pastor(s). Their decision to leave was the result of their unwillingness to submit to authority.

Your pastor is not your pastor so long as he does everything that agrees with you. He ought to be your pastor because his teaching and behavior align with God’s Word.

You have the right to disagree with your pastor. But if we would be obedient to these scriptures, we must honor our leaders even if we don’t always agree with them.

Your elders have a responsibility to shepherd the flock of God. They will be judged for it. You have a responsibility to be shepherded. You will be judged for it.

The good news is that when God’s church is submissive to leadership, we can better accomplish God’s mission. Elders don’t always make the best decisions. Your idea may have been better. But this is Christ’s church and when you pray for your leaders, you can trust that he can help them to see things as they should be seen.

The internet has a lot of great preaching and a lot of bad preaching. It has good ideas and bad ideas. The internet is not you pastor. You are not it’s Church. You’re in Christ’s Church. He has given you pastors. He has given them a church. We ought never to take that lightly and we ought never to presume that our opinions should ever warrant us to disobey Scripture.

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

Let’s get on mission!