As shepherds of our
families and for whatever ministry the Chief Shepherd entrusts to us, may our
hearts be mastered by Christ and manifest the following and much more:
Fear of God. If there
is any book in the Bible written to guide the hearts of spiritual leaders,
pastors, teachers, and elders, it is Proverbs. Proverbs makes clear that above all else, wisdom and
knowledge are of utmost importance (Prov 4:5-7). And, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and
knowledge (Prov 1:7). The pastor
must be so tethered to God’s heart and holiness that there is never a question
about where his allegiance lay.
Because he has been undone by the holiness of God, the pastor is an obedient
God-fearer (Isa 6:1-8). He does
not fear man, nor does he serve himself.
He conducts himself with fear knowing that God will impartially judge
him (1 Pet 1:17). It is the fear
of God that makes the pastor enjoy the friendship of God (Ps 25:14).
pastor who truly fears God is truly humble. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble of heart
(Jam 4:6). Because the humble
pastor is quick to repent and confess sin, his shepherding is marked by the
presence and favor of God (Isa 57:15).
The pastor must surrender his will and sense of significance under the
sovereign hand of God, knowing that he cannot serve God as though He needed
anything (Acts 17:24; Job 41:11).
A pastor that trembles before the holiness of God is willing to follow
Him wherever He wills (Isa 6:1-8).
The humble pastor will also surround himself with those who are strong
in areas where he is weak. He is
not afraid to work himself out of a job.
The humble pastor does not view himself as indispensable and without
replacement. He knows God alone
promotes and demotes pastors.
commanded Joshua to meditate on the Law in order to obey it and speak it. His success was to be measured by the
degree that his heart was tethered to the Word of God (Josh 1:8). What gives pastors the strength to
pursue the straight and narrow path is the sense that this is the way
prescribed in the Bible. There is
a temptation to give in and try an easier way or a way that will bring quicker
or more efficient results, but if a pastor follows the principles of God’s
Word, he can be eternally sure that God will honor him. A tight-fisted grasp on the Bible keeps
the pastor focused on objective, unchanging truths and not on passing trends or
cultural fads. It is this security
grounded in the Word that keeps the pastor fresh and encouraged. In fact, any pastor or elder whose
heart is not in submission and dominated by the Scriptures will cease to lead
spiritually. A pastor without a
Bible is a pastor without authority.
came not to be served, but to serve (Matt 20:28). Subordinate to teaching and preaching, His model of
shepherding was one of compassion and ministry to the sick (Matt 9:36) and
serving His followers (John 13).
Instead of seeking out affinity and only those with whom pastors easily
get along, biblical principles call the heart of a pastor to pay the price in
identifying and enduring with a group to which he is committed even when it is
frustrating to do so. Learning the
cost of servanthood is a key to developing deep fruit in ministry. Having a heart that identifies with
people and that is patient with them through frustrating situations will help
pastors minister more effectively.
Criticism. The pastor will not only be opposed by
demonic powers, but he will also be often criticized by the people he is
seeking to lead. The reality of
constant criticism requires the pastor’s heart to not seek man’s approval (Gal
1:10) but to entrust his soul to God alone. In fact, if a pastor is never criticized and only praised,
it is very likely that his heart is not following God (Lk 6:26).
Making Disciples of Young Leaders. The pastor has a responsibility to grow
young disciples by intentionally teaching them. The pastor should set aside times to directly speak truth at
length with young disciples and not only limit teaching truth to mutual
conversations. Nevertheless, part
of his responsibility is to reveal the heart of God by sharing his heart as he
trains young leaders-to-be.
Pastoral ministry does not have to do with status; it has to do with
responsibility. There is a
long-suffering that a pastor’s heart must endure during the slow growth of
their followers, much like a parent who endures the gradual development of a
child. As a disciple grows, so
does his level of freedom to explore his ministry passions and gifting. A young disciple who is well-shepherded
will step out and take risks not merely because of confidence in acquired
skills but because of confidence in the culture of love, nurture, and trust
demonstrated by his pastor’s heart.
The culture of pastoral ministry is primarily relational and not
project-driven. The wise pastor’s
heart will look for very trainable young men to grow up into shepherds to
eventually take the reins of disciple-making.