Five Signs You’ve Moved From Shepherding To Domineering

The Pastors Justification

Once again, the title of this post is from Jared Wilson’s latest book The Pastor’s Justification: Applying The Work Of Christ In Your Life And Ministry.  I resonated with many truths Wilson shared in his book and several were painful to admit.  His words on biblical shepherding compared to often domineering shepherding that goes on in the local church were truths I found myself nodding at; both in terms of experiences I’ve had with other pastors and my own sinful tendencies at times. Wilson writes that…

The shift can be imperceptible. Nobody drifts into holiness, but we sure drift into unholiness. It is the default setting of our flesh. And so the pastor is autoset to self-protect, self-justify, and self-exalt. How can we know this shift is taking place?

Here are the five signs Wilson submits that describe a transition from shepherding the flock to one of domineering the flock:

  1. You insulate yourself from criticism and/or interpret any criticism as attacks or insubordination.
  2. You have a paranoia about who is and who isn’t in line.
  3. You have a need to micromanage or hold others back from leadership opportunities or other responsibilities.
  4. You have an impulse to hoard credit and shift blame.
  5. Your progression has regressed to reaction.

God forbids pastors to exemplify a domineering posture towards the flock, but instead calls them to be examples as they themselves follow Jesus (1 Cor 11:1).

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