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Missions 101

What Does it Mean to Have a Pastor’s Heart? (Part 2)

Mar. 3, 2015By: Evan Burns

Pastor-preaching-mediumUnderstanding the heart of the true Shepherd is necessary for knowing how to emulate His model to the flock under one’s care. It would be easy to describe what we ourselves think a pastor’s heart should be like based on our current or previous pastors, church-growth gurus, and our own experience and personality; however, seeing the heart of the true Pastor in the Bible and imitating Him is our authoritative model. 

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11).  Essentially, the heart of a shepherd is that of a bondservant.  Although, it can be misleading to argue that Jesus’ heart was one solely of service.  It is not a problem if we mean what Mark 10:45 meant by service, in that Jesus “came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many”.  It is true that Jesus’ heart of compassion for His people was often demonstrated in meeting physical needs, like feeding hungry people and healing demonized people.  However, it is misleading to contend that Jesus’ heart in ministry was primarily to serve the felt-needs of everyone—always available to counsel, accepting every party invitation, and giving ample consolation to every hurting person. 

"It is misleading to contend that Jesus’ heart in ministry was primarily to serve the felt-needs of everyone" - Tweet this

The over-active ministries of some pastors demonstrate their heart’s passion is to be always available to hear complaints, ready to counsel anyone at any time, willing to frequently hang out with the sheep, and to present enjoyable dynamic sermons that the sheep want to hear.  Such a busybody-heart can actually demonstrate that such an under-shepherd may have a Messiah-complex, which shows his heart is mainly driven by pride, believing he can “do it all”, and not by submission to the Chief Shepherd’s commands. 

This may sound heartless and unspiritual, but it is true: it simply was not Jesus’ heart passion to heal all the sick and meet all the demands of the needy, though He cared more for them than any other.  His heart’s desire was to fulfill what the Father sent Him to do: to save His people from damnation (Jn 3:17), that He would be lifted up on a cross so that believers could have eternal life (Jn 3:14-15).  The Father sent Him so that whoever feeds on Him would live forever (Jn 6:57-58).  Jesus’ chief passion as a Shepherd was eternal and spiritual in nature, though He certainly cared for the physical and emotional pangs of the masses. 


Tags:  pastor, shepherd, ministry
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