Pastor Schmaster part 1

Pastor20bonum20full2003 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?

9 Comments

  1. Hey ken i need some help from. i’m going to take the cit course at camp qwuanos and i was woundering if u could fill in the reference portion of it for. only i’d need a fax number so that i can get it to you quickly and get it back as well. so if u can help me out please e-mail me because i probly won’t be abable to read this blog

  2. Thanks James,
    I like the way you have said things. I especially like that you included the “community” aspect of pastoring (see the next post!). A fellow sojourner on the way to heaven. Great perspective.

  3. I would suggest that a pastor, is an individual created in God’s image who has had a life transforming encounter with the living Christ. He has entered into a unique, intense, personal relationshp with his Heavenly Father. A pastor is filled by the Holy Spirit with an overwhelming love for a specific group of people in a specific location, at a specific point in time. It is to this body that he is called to pastor. The expression of a pastors ministry is as unique as the pastor, the gifts God has given him, the time,the place and the people he is ministering to.
    Using the unique gifts God has blessed him with, a pastor is called to create a safe haven for this body. This community is a place where the pastor sojourns together with other individuals through life pains, sorrows and joys to heaven. For some people in this community, the pastor is their teacher, for others their leader, for others their shepherd, and still for others simply a friend. As God’s vessel, God will speak through the pastor to bring healing, instruction, wise counsel or rebuke to individuals in the community.
    It is in this community that the pastor finds forgiveness, sees God answer his prayers, see his dreams fulfilled and finds himself transformed into Christ’s image. He compares himself to none other then His Lord and Savior, keeping his eyes fixed on the cross. He is profoundly aware of his humanity all the while resting in the peace and grace of forgiveness.
    A pastor will find himself opressed and afflicted. He will know great sorrow and experience tremendous joy. In the midst of all this he is confident that when he gets home God will show him the fruits of his labour.

  4. Andrew,
    I love this! Very cool. I think you are on to the crux of the role of a pastor in the generation ahead. Henri Nouwen says that Christian leadership needs to be theological leadership. Not just intellectual theology… but spiritual formation where the everyday act and thought and movement is coordinated with living for God. Ultimately, said simply and profoundly I hope, true pastors will be people who equip others to think and live like Jesus.

  5. Thanks Anonymous,
    As you know, your email encouraged me greatly. I love the way Christ’s body works together… all over the world. I am also grateful that you shared much of your church story with me in your email. And your prayer for me is humbling and warmly embraced. Thank you. And I agree that holding a pastor out as an idol is extremely dangerous for the congregation and for that pastor. Community cooperation in ministry is necessary. Keep up the faithful service and encouragement!

  6. I received this comment from a new friend in Washingtom who would like to remain anonymous:
    The call of a pastor is technically no different than the call of any
    Christian: it requires being sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ, to act in
    obedience and humility to the instruction of the Holy Spirit, to be His
    witness and ambassador, to speak His truth in love, and to preach the full
    gospel to the lost and hurting world under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
    The practical aspects of serving and equipping a congregation to
    understand how their individual and corporate instructions from the Lord
    should be put into action is the qualifier. It’s a high call, but so is
    that placed upon any believer. If you see evidence in your congregation of
    idol worship instead of support for you and your family, you need to kill it
    before it appeals to your flesh. It’s tough to do. But the comfort of
    praise can be an effective weapon of the enemy if it ever separates us from
    who is worthy of all praise.
    Sharing in the “sufferings” of Christ is also a requirement for a Christian,
    and pastors don’t escape it either along with the sacrifice of ministry, all
    uniquely defined in a life led by the Holy Spirit.
    Your heart for God will determine who you are and become as a pastor. It
    won’t be easy to follow Him–it never is. When it becomes too easy,
    something is generally awry. I urge you to stay faithful to the one who’s
    given you the Call, to seek after Him above all others, and not to cave to
    the lures of “ministry”.
    Father, please minister to Ken’s heart as he leads those you have assigned
    to him to be equipped to serve. Put your love for people into his heart,
    give him your insights, and keep him steadfast in his obedience to you.
    Give him ears to hear your voice daily, Lord. Remind him that humility is
    necessary to be lifted up by your loving hands. Show him unequivocally that
    “every good and perfect gift” comes down from you and you alone. Place in
    him a desire to go deeper into your Word and find out all that you have for
    him. Bless him in his obedience to you and encourage him with your presence
    during those unavoidable hard times. Let him never waver from seeking to
    follow you, no matter what. In the Name and Authority and Blood of Jesus,
    Amen.

  7. I am sitting in my room reading this blog and sipping away at a peppermint tea and it struck me how my course reading relates to this topic as I have just started reading a new class book for school. The book is Harry Blamires’ The Christian Mind. This book talks about the secularization of the Christian mind and in particular the division which even Christians have driven into their understandings of the world in which God time is seperate from all other parts of the day and work is not religious nor is politics and even social issues. There is a real resurgence in some of these things now, but I see a need for greater increase in Christian thought and theology reflecting on the state of current society and world affairs. I believe part of the role of a pastor is to teach and live Christian thought. this does not mean thinking about Christian things, but rather thinking about things Christianly. I dont think that summarizes all of a pastors roles, but I think it is a vital part of what a pastor’s role is.
    In Christ
    Andrew

  8. Thanks Conor. It was encouraging for me to see an up-and-coming pastor wrestling with these issues already. Hang in there. The reward is worth the anguish. It’s cool how God works in his timing, eh! Thanks for your link to this site. I hope to keep working this pastoring thing out with you, my friend.

  9. Hey brother in Christ, thank you! Youre entry was definitely an encouragement. Stand strong in the faith my friend, the strength is in the struggle and thanks for the comment!

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