Ministry is very often spoken of in terms of shepherding. The office of an overseer by implication has a pastoral component to it. In John 10 Jesus is depicted as a classic example of a good shepherd. In Ezekiel 34 God makes it pretty clear what the job description of the shepherd is. However, as with every truth in scripture there is a danger that it wobbles into an extreme position.
God has called his shepherds to pastor the flock, not worship them.
Signs that shepherding is out of balance
- Sheep become dependent on their pastors to survive. They develop an unhealthy attachment to them
- Pastors believe they are the answer to every sheep problem
- Sheep insist on pastors praying for them rather than others
- Pastors feeling guilty about not getting to all the needs
- Pastors’ families never see them because they are always tending to sheep
- Sheep having a pastor on speed dial for every problem
- Pastors having to dedicate houses, cars and businesses
- Pastors counselling in a way that deals with symptoms, but doesn’t empower to walk free
Godly pastoring is characterised by
- The ability to prop up the weak temporarily, with the goal of getting them to stand on their own feet
- The ability to show sheep how to feed themselves
- The ability to show sheep how to rely on God
- The ability to show sheep how to lead others
- The ability to show sheep how to seek God for answers and come to their own conclusions, rather than spoon-feeding them
- The ability to demonstrate Jesus ‘centeredness’
- People becoming more dependent on Jesus than pastors
- Genuine care expressed in empowerment rather than sympathy alone
We hope that this resource blesses you and the way you deal with pastoring in your church. Feel free to print, edit and distribute this document.