The pastor must also be able to preach and teach in such a clear and simple way that all can understand. He must be able to reach people at their place of need and level of maturity. Their spiritual “diet” must be fresh and balanced by variety. Sometimes this can be done by bringing in visiting preachers and teachers.
- The pastor must have a personal relationship with the sheep (John 10:27).
Jesus was able to be dose to people without losing their respect. He knew them personally by name -and they knew Him. This truly is the mark of a good shepherd (John 10:3). Only then can he minister into the deepest needs of the lives of his people. The pastor must identify with his sheep. He must sit, walk and talk with them where they are. He must be honest in allowing them to know he is not only a shepherd, but one of them as well a sheep in the flock of God. Only then can he minister with understanding and compassion – with love, grace and wisdom (2 Cor 1:3,4).
- A pastor must be willing to lay down his life for the sheep (John 10:15; 1 John 3:16; Rev 12:11).
Both a pastor and his people need to know that the pastor’s ministry is not just a job, but is a calling in life. He is committed to the flock of God in love and loyalty.
A pastor’s commitment to God’s people involves many things:
- Pouring out of his life and strength (John 10:11}.
- Caring for the sheep in times of need (Ezek 34:4; John 10:13)
- Staying with the sheep in times of trouble (John 10:12).
- Visiting in the homes of the sheep (Zech 10:2,3).
- Watchful care for their safety (Heb 13:17).
D. The Ministry Of The Pastor
Much of the ministry of a pastor has already been covered in the topics above. We can sum up his work in four main words: seeking, watching, caring and correcting:
- A pastor is always seeking out the lost sheep (Luke 15:4). There are many sheep who wander and go astray. A shepherd never gives up on one that has lost its way. Instead, he keeps praying, calling, exhorting and encouraging the wayward sheep.
- A pastor is always watching for things that could harm the flock (Luke 2:8). This means looking for “wolves” from without -and “wolves in sheep’s clothing” from within. The sheep need to be protected from false teachers and false prophets. They need to be protected from those who would cause trouble and division (John 10:12;Acts 20:29).
- A pastor is always caring for those in need (John 10:11-13). The needs may be spiritual, mental, emotional or physical. They may involve the family, work, school or other areas of everyday life.
A pastor seeks to bring comfort and counsel to the sick, the dying, the crippled, the poor, the widows, the fatherless, and all who are hurting. It is a shepherd’s very nature to help and to heal wherever he can.
- A pastor seeks to correct those who are in error (Ps 23:4). The shepherd’s staff is used to reach and rescue sheep that have gone astray. The rod is used to protect the sheep when they are in danger. It is also used to correct the sheep when they are in error or rebellion.
Discipline or correction is the most difficult responsibility the pastor must face. It must be done in love and wisdom -but it must be done. It is for the good of both the sheep that need correction and the flock as a whole.