Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Friday, September 28, 2012

You Should Be a Pastor

I think you should consider being a pastor.  I think the church needs more pastors.  I'm not ranting about pastors because I want less of them. I actually want more believers to recognize that they have this 'calling' too.

Take a look at the one passage from most Bible translations that mentions the pastor.

Ephesians 4:11 - 13 (NIV)
"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

Note that it is plural pastors.  Can you find any verses that speak of a singular pastor?  We may be asking too much of one man when we ask them to fill this role on their own.

So what do pastors do?  The term pastor comes from the Greek poimenas which means shepherd, which we can assume means someone who cares for the needs of others.

So my question is this: Is it possible that many more of us should be caring for the needs of others? 

I think of Jesus' conversation with Peter recorded in John 21:15-17 where Jesus repeated asks Peter "do you love me", and then tells Peter to "feed my lambs" and "feed my sheep".  Did Peter become the first vocational pastor? Was Peter the only shepherd of the early church in Jerusalem?  I've never heard that argument. But I believe Peter took these words to heart and did devote his life to caring for other believers.  I believe many believers took these words to heart and followed the example of Jesus, Peter and others.

Peter later writes a letter to believers in other towns in 1 Peter 5:1-4.
"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."
The same message that he was given he passes on to other elders (plural).  Note he is not assuming there would be one shepherd or pastor in the group. Keep in mind elders in Jewish culture were older men who had earned the respect of the community, and Peter is writing as one elder to some others.

The term translated pastors in Ephesians 4:11 does show up in it's singular form poimén in a number of other verses. In the other verses it gets translated as shepherd, and often refers to Jesus. The title 'Chief Shepherd' in 1 Peter 5:4 is synonymous with 'Lead Pastor'. So yes, there is one Pastor or Shepherd who is capable of caring for a large flock, and I suspect He wants to enlist many of us to help do this work.

Here are some other verses that encourage all believers to care for others.

Philippians 2:4 (NIV)
"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Romans 12:10 (NIV)
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."

I gotta add that I value and respect all my brothers and sisters who do care for others. I recognize many people are gifted in different degrees in special ways in this area. Not because of a job description or title, but because they recognize God is asking this of them. 

But please don't call me pastor or shepherd.  I am simply recognizing this as an area of growth for us at this point. I think it is possible to work at caring for others and simply be called by my real name.

Do you love Jesus?  If so... feed His sheep.

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Steve Martin said...

It's a special call. Some are more suited for it than others.

But the Lord could certainly use more faithful pastors who would preach and teach the completed work on the cross for sinners in need of a Savior...and not some 'self-help guru', like some many crummy preachers do.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Steve Martin, I think it is a special call. I'd love to see more people recognize that they can grow in this area. Whoever loves Jesus should consider ways in which they can also feed His sheep. Those who are more gifted should be examples and encourage others to care for others as well.

Thanks for the comment.

Alan Knox said...


Yes. Some are spiritually gifted as teachers, but all are to teach. Some are spiritually gifted as encouragers, but all are to encourage. Some are spiritually gifted as givers, but all are to give. etc. etc. etc.

The same is true of pastoring. Some are spiritually gift as pastors, but all are to pastor.

And, I like the way you defined what it means to "pastor."


Jonathan said...

Thanks brother Alan for all the encouragement, teaching, and shepherding you demonstrate.

Frank said...

I have walked in the calling of pastor and teacher since the mid 70s. However I have never led a church as such, or been appointed to any leadership position, other than occasionally a home group.
In the churches I attended I was largely despised by the leadership, and regarded as a renegade, and several times thrown out. But all the time I had a house full, of those who had spiritual needs, and also the walking wounded from local churches.
I never made any noise about it, even when I was churchless, but they gravitated to my door presumably via the Holy Spirit.

I have only been given perhaps 5 opportunities to teach in churches in nearly 40 years. That has never stopped me constantly teaching though. If the word of life is rooted deep within you, then you don't need a platform or pulpit. Opportunities come all the time to talk to people about the realities of life. I don't know whether I am strange, but I can't help seeing spiritual truths in most situations I encounter. It naturally leads to discussions and people are far more open to discuss actual realities from a spiritual perspective than listen to theological abstracts in church.

I love teaching the truths of God, and I love the fact that it is God who approves of me and anoints me to walk like this, whatever the local pastors think. I have never stopped teaching or pastoring, and I doubt I ever will.

God made it plain to me when I first became a Christian that if the word of truth didn't work outside of the church then it was fake. I then set my heart on letting the Lord lead me into His ministry, rather than look for man to do it or approve it.

You definitely don't need paper qualifications to walk in God's anointings!

Jonathan said...

Thanks Frank, I have only been on journey of seeing the church outside of 'church' for a few short years. It is a struggle. On one hand we want to see evidence that the Spirit is with us, or that we are following the Spirit. Yet we can't assume we'll get much in the way of confirmation from many in the church. But I have experienced God giving enough assurances to keep us moving - for you it seems there has been a history of people that are needing your care. Thanks for sharing. God bless!

Frank said...

Jon, I think that I benefited from being ignorant of the right way to do things. I was filled with the Holy Spirit, but new to the bible therefore each meeting was an adventure of discovery.
I had learned very early from the Lord that hierarchical church was unbiblical. I therefore facilitated the meetings rather than led them. I guess you could call that shepherding/pastoring. I just saw it as my job to stir things up so any ministry came from the body rather than the front. I knew everyone had an anointing, and they needed to be free to explore it. We needed the Holy Spirit in our meetings, not good ideas. The worst idea was to organise things. God avoided those meetings!
So be encouraged and keep on keeping on! God wants you to journey with him.