What is a pastor? I’m still trying to figure this out. My own pastorate experience has at times been overwhelmed by committees and books and discussions about drapery as well as by cell phones and emails and sound equipment and websites and coffee and the latest ministry trends. Am I supposed to be conservative or liberal or radical or tame? Am I to dress nicely or dress down? Should my family live in an individual house or model a revolutionary community? Should pastoring emphasize teaching, social issues or governing a church? Should a pastor reach out to poor, the lost, the destitute and provide psychological counseling, offer financial advice, conduct budget meetings and lead a class on prophetic revelation? Should a pastor spend time praying for everyone as well as 30 hours of prep time on a sermon in addition to looking after architectural plans for a building expansion?
A couple centuries ago, my impression is that the role was more defined, though I could be wrong about that. It seems as if a pastor’s job description (I’m not even sure that’s an appropriate document to have) was restricted to a parish setting, a local congregation, preaching and pastoral care. 1000 years ago in Europe, it was perhaps a role of supporting a local ruler’s policies and keeping religious order. 1900 years ago it was, in many ways I suppose, focused on teaching and caring for a community, drawing people by the droves into faith, and guarding against heresy in the midst of imminent persecution.
What do you think a pastor should be?