Those who exercise leadership should understand what spiritual authority is and fear the position that they occupy. The following criterion helps us to recognize consecrated leaders.

Assume responsibility for the flock

Consecrated leaders seek responsibility while corrupt leaders seek authority. Timothy is an example of a consecrated leader that sought the well-being of the flock and not his own interests. His passion was to fulfill his responsibility and not to embellish his position or title. However, Paul said that all of the others sought their own interests and not those of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:19, 20).

John spoke of a certain brother called Diotrephes, an example of a corrupt leader that wanted to exercise preeminence and authority in a forced manner. He is cited as someone who possessed a divisive spirit, spoke with malicious words against his leaders, he manipulated and tried to control others and prohibited the members of his flock from having fellowship with one another. (3 John 9, 10).

As we shall see, John did not encourage the brethren to follow bad leaders (verse 11), but to follow Demetrius who was a model of a good leader. Normally those who seek authority and position treat the flock with harshness and try to dominate the members of the flock. (1 Peter 5:2, 3)

Feed the Flock

Consecrated leaders feed the flock while corrupt leaders take advantage the flock (Jeremiah 3:15; Ezekiel 34:1-10; Micah S 3:10, 11; John 10:12, 13) Above all, a pastor according to the heart of God is concerned with feeding the flock of the Lord. The flock does not exist to serve the leaders, or to satisfy their own purposes and needs. For the consecrated leader, it is the sheep that are important; for the corrupt leader, it is the advantages that he will have. When our principal interest is money, we are rejected by God as leaders. It is a great privilege to be able to renounce any advantage in order to serve the Lord.

Gather the flock

Consecrated leaders gather the flock while corrupt leaders scatter it (Isaiah 40:10, 11; Jer. 23:1, 2) A gentle and meek pastor will always gather the flock, stimulate the gifts of each sheep and will not break a bruised reed. An unconsecrated pastor abuses his authority and scatters the flock, creating confusion and division. A truly consecrated pastor does not hide behind his authority: whenever he does something wrong, he seeks out the sheep, repents and asks for forgiveness.

Lead the flock as stewards

Consecrated leaders recognize that the flock belongs to God while corrupt leaders claim the sheep for themselves (Psalm 100:3; Ezekiel 34:23; 30; 31) The consecrated pastor always remembers that the flock belongs to God. Pastors and church leaders merely work for the Lord. Mercenary pastors normally claim the sheep for themselves, principally those who are rich and well-positioned. Corrupt pastors generally do not succeed in securing the submission of their flock; the most they can manage is subservience. The least a local church or denomination can do for their people is to assure that their leaders are men who have consecrated themselves to the Lord’s flock.