I think 1 Peter 5:4 is the only passage in Scripture that references a Senior Pastor or Lead Pastor:
"And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away." (NIV)
It should be obvious this verse is talking about Jesus. But what about the terms 'Chief Shepherd'? Lets take a look at the Greek and how it gets translated.
The greek word in this verse for 'Chief Shepherd' here is archipoimenos which is a combination of archó and poimḗn.
archó means to rule, or be the chief, ruler or leader
poimḗn is a shepherd. In the new Testament it often refers to someone who cares for others. Sometimes it gets translated as shepherd, in other passages it gets translated as pastor.
So I think it is fair to say that Jesus as my Chief Shepherd is also my Lead Pastor or Senior Pastor.
Can't people also shepherd or care for others?
I think there are many verses that talk about believers shepherding or caring for one another, here are a few: Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:2, Philippians 2:4, Ephesians 4:32, John 13:34-35, Hebrews 10:24, 1 John 3:11, Rom 12:10, Rom 15:14, Gal 5:13, Col 3:16, 1 Thess 5:11
I acknowledge that many people have cared for me and have 'shepherded' me over the years. There are still a number of people who care for me in this way today.
By my age, I should also recognize that I have a role to play in shepherding or caring for others as well. My children come to mind first, but there are others as well that God has placed in my life that I am called to care for and watch out for their best interests.
What then is the issue with calling someone a pastor or shepherd?
Whenever I read verses where I see the term shepherd (or pastor) as a title referring to a person, the reference is to Jesus. (John 10:11, John 10:14, Hebrews 13:20, 1 Peter 2:25, 1 Peter 5:4) I do not believe anyone went by the title pastor until the 1500's.
I am thankful for the role Jesus has had in my life caring for me. He has guided my steps when I don't know where I am going. He has provided for all of my needs and more. I know He cares for me. I am thankful and feel compelled to boast that I have the best Senior Pastor. He is really a good shepherd. And He wants to be yours too. :)