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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