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The Pastoral Role Essay

4747 words - 19 pages

Pastors are a gift to the church. Now, at the risk of making what reads like an arrogant assertion, we must consider what the Bible tells us, for we know from scripture that after His ascension, Jesus gave gifts to the church, and one of those gifts was pastor, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). This passage proceeds to shed some light on the purpose of these gifts, “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the status ...view middle of the document...

Is there anything wrong or inappropriate with being an evangelist or a prophet? Certainly not, but there is something powerful when a man or a woman fully embraces what God has called them to be. However, things can go quickly askew when they wander away from God’s calling on their life.
So what is a pastor? We know that a pastor is gift, from Jesus, to the church, and we discovered that one of its primary purposes is the equipping of the believer. The Greek word for equipping is katartismos, and when used as it was in Ephesians 4:12, it means, “properly, exact adjustment which describes how the individual parts work together in correct order.” As I read that definition, I cannot help but compare the imagery to that of a chiropractor, in that a pastor, like a chiropractor, is in the business of adjusting the body and bringing it into proper alignment and a perfected condition of functionality. Again, all of that speaks to the pastor’s role of helping the believer come into a place of maturity in their walk with Christ.
This process of equipping, adjusting, perfecting, aligning, and bringing the body into correct working order is accomplished by a variety of means, not simply by preaching and teaching. I believe a pastor can, and should utilize other approaches in the process of equipping. Yes they should preach and teach but they should also provide correction or rebuke when necessary, personal words of encouragement, prayers with and for the body, along with a number of other relational initiatives. Our English word ‘pastor’ comes from a Latin word which translates as ‘shepherd.’ This concept is not without Biblical support as we read about our Lord as the Good Shepherd, as well as in Jesus’ statement to Peter upon Peter’s affirmative declaration of his love for Christ, “Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep’” (John 21:17). Jesus is the Good Shepherd and pastors are His under-shepherds. A pastor is a sheep himself, following the leading of Jesus, but as one who has been called to a pastoral office, he also serves in a role as a shepherd, leading and shepherding the children of God, albeit as an under-shepherd. As an under-shepherd, the pastor should take on the characteristics and qualities of the over-shepherd, Jesus. We read a promise in the Old Testament, “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15). I believe that God’s plan is for pastors to be an extension of Himself to the body of Christ, not merely in authority, but in service, and in how they relate to the body.
Although I mentioned that the process of equipping is not only accomplished through preaching and teaching, one cannot deny the fact that preaching and teaching are indeed a very important aspect of a pastor’s ministry. In Paul’s writing to young pastor Timothy, he is giving the qualifications for an elder and he writes, “An overseer then, must be above reproach…able to teach” (I Timothy 3:2). In his...

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