“And who knows who are the people of God, when throughout the whole world, from its origin, the state of the Church was always such, that those who were called the people and saints of God who were not so; while others among them, who were as a refuse, and were not called the people and saints of God, were the Peoples and the Saints of God? As is manifest in the histories of Cain and Abel, of Ishmael and Isaac, of Esau and Jacob.” (Luther. p 97-98. Bondage of the Will.)
Just because one carries the title ‘Pastor’ does not make them a part of the Church. The title, you see, doesn’t make the Christian, not at all, Jesus makes a person a Christian and his Spirit gifts them to be pastor.
But leaders abound in all the world, in every religion, and in business. So is it possible to be a leader in the Church and not be a Christian? Yes. To the destruction of hundreds of souls, yes, it is possible.
Possible to preach week in and week out on the beauties of true religion, but not know it. Possible to elaborate on the nuances of the gospel and the life it ought to produce, yet dead. Possible to expound on the light of glory in the face of Jesus Christ, yet be blind.
Yet more horrifying than this, it is possible to lead a congregation to the pits of hell and be greeted by their screams upon his own entrance…
(Let that sink in and ask yourself whom are you following? A boy with a vendetta to have a following, or a man seeking to glorify God by giving up all he is to preach for nothing else than the glory of God?)
How does this tie into mission? By the pastor knowing the condition of his own soul before attempting to proclaim the gospel to other souls.
He is to be the leader in mission, and therefore he must believe what he will proclaim, or he will prove to be more of a hindrance than a help in the fight of faith; because his fight will be in another sector (maybe even another country) rather than on the same field as the true Church.
So simply being a pastor doesn’t make one Christian (and simply calling yourself a Christian doesn’t make it true). And sadly, now, it doesn’t always inspire hope that all pastors are Christian. So as those on mission for the glory of God and the good of the Church in the redemption of souls we must carefully submit to godly leadership to lead us in mission.