In 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).