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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

what is a pastor? - pt. 4

This and the posts linked below explore the question: "What is a Pastor?" I'd love to hear your thoughts or responses in the comments!

Some Personal Comments
  1. In a very important sense, the responsibilities of a pastor are the responsibilities of all Christians.  We are all to be faithful disciples, obedient servants, and loving neighbors.  We are all to encourage and spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  We are all to follow the example of Jesus Christ and give ourselves humbly to draw others toward the grace of God in Christ. 
  2. What sets pastors apart from the general responsibilities of being Christian?  In a word, it is their “call” – brought about by the Holy Spirit, witnessed by the Church, and signified in their anointing and ordination for service.  That “call” is how God called forth leaders, judges, and prophets of old; it is how Jesus formed the disciples, and it is a pattern by which God equips the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11).  It does not grant an earthly or human authority to be wielded in power, but a Spirit-borne authority in the service of Christ.
  3. While various gifts and skills may be helpful in ministry, it is certainly clear in scripture that God can and does work through human weakness.  Moses was no public speaker; Jonah ran the other way; Jeremiah and Timothy were seen as too young; Paul admitted an ongoing “thorn in the flesh”; Peter denied his Lord; Thomas doubted.  But the Lord called each of these to service to God’s people.  Another distinguishing aspect of pastoral leadership is that it is in terms of groups rather than the general Christian responsibilities towards other individuals.  A pastor, then, is an ordinary Christian called to oversight of a flock – part of the body of Christ.
  4. What I believe God desires of His flock everywhere is that they be “shepherded” after the example of Jesus Christ.  My desire is to shepherd after the pattern of Christ and, in doing so, to point the flock heavenward, toward their perfect Shepherd.  

Part 1: Pastoral Charge to Peter 
Part 2: The Nature of Pastoral Authority
Part 3: On Shepherding the Flock
Part 4: Some Personal Comments

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