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Missions 101

What Does it Mean to Have a Pastor’s Heart? (Part 1)

Mar. 2, 2015By: Evan Burns

Jesus-Good-Shepherd-guides-me-2In recent months, I have meditated deeply on what it means to have a pastor’s heart.  Ultimately, TLI seeks to train biblical leaders, and a synonymous description of leaders in the Bible is “pastor”.  Of course prophets, priests, kings, sages, and apostles are all leaders in the Bible, but the role of pastor in the New Testament commonly identifies the ordained biblical leader within a local church.  In this post and subsequent posts, I am seeking to answer the question: “what does it mean to have a pastor’s heart?” 

Unpacking the biblical meaning of a pastor is the best way to initially answer this question.  A pastor is simply a synonymous word in the English Bible for shepherd, and is often identified with the office of elder/overseer/bishop, though not all believers with a pastoral-type gift are to lead in the office of an elder.  But all elders are pastors (Acts 20:17-35), and all pastors are shepherds, and all shepherds are teachers (Eph 4:11).  

Two primary passions of the biblical shepherd’s heart must be to lovingly feed the sheep and lovingly protect the sheep, and all other expressions of a shepherd’s heart are derivative of those two all-consuming desires of love.  Moreover, feeding and protecting the sheep are chiefly done through the ministry of teaching.  Nevertheless, a teaching ministry is not to be relegated only to pulpit time on Sunday’s, any more than it would suffice to only feed sheep once a week.  A pastoral teaching ministry is one of loving, intentional disciple-making in speech, conduct, conversation, confession, illustration, informal opportunities, formal occasions, and essentially in patiently leading sheep to green pastures in which God’s flock might find solace and fodder for their souls, away from wolves and barren lands. 

Ministry is not to be relegated only to pulpit time, any more than it would suffice to only feed sheep once a week. -Tweet this

True shepherds do not desire to lead the sheep as entertainers, life-coaches, CEOs, comedians, politicians, programmers, motivational speakers, cultural architects, artisans, bosses, butlers, therapists, professionals, professors, psychologists, or actors.  The heart of a biblical shepherd should be to lovingly lead the object of his love (Christ’s flock) to feed on the source of all love (Christ Himself), away from wolves (false teachers) and stale water and dead ground (love of money, pride of life, lusts of the flesh).  

 

Tags:  pastor, teaching, ministry
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