THE SPIRITUAL GIFT OF PASTOR
One of my favorite titles for a pastor is ‘shepherd.’ The term speaks of tender, loving care, of responsibility and oversight for those who would not prosper without it. A shepherd’s is someone with a caregiver’s heart, someone who has others they oversee and build into spiritually. It could be a pastor, youth worker, children’s helper, mother or father.
Are you concerned about the spiritual needs of the people around you? Do you long to see them grow in the Lord? Do you have a burden and desire to help them, encourage them, rejoice with them, love them and assist them in any way possible? Do you give of yourself because of a concern for the ones you are ministering to? A shepherd must love his sheep in order to lay down his life for his sheep, and pastors lay down their lives for their teenage sheep every day.
The gift of pastor or shepherd is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to assume a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers. So yes, youth pastors and children’s’ pastors are definitely pastors.
The Greek word translated ‘pastor’ refers to the caring, protecting feeding and leading of sheep. Jesus calls Himself the “Good Shepherd.” Since He is not physically on earth, He calls some of us to be assistant shepherds to help care for His sheep. This is a great privilege and a wonderful calling. There is none higher.
But it also entails responsibility and accountability. After all, they are HIS sheep, not ours. He owns them, not us. He brings growth, we are just the channel He sometimes uses. When our sheep rejoice, we rejoice. But when they stray or are in pain, we hurt with them and for them. In that way we represent Christ and show in a very real way just what Jesus is like. Those we shepherd should see a glimpse of the Great Shepherd in us. What a wonderful privilege and great challenge that is!
Ephesians 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
1 Peter 5:2-3 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. NIV
1 Timothy 4:12-15 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
Take some time to identify the gift of pastor (shepherd) in your life. Write down your thoughts and burdens for those around you.
What can you do to be a better shepherd, to be more like the Lord Jesus Christ in how you care for your sheep.
Every sheep needs a shepherd. Who is your shepherd? Who do you look to and go to? If you’re trying to function without a shepherd of your own you like a sheep trying to make it on his own. That just doesn’t work for long.
Spend some time thanking God for the wonderful privilege He has given you of being a shepherd of some of His sheep!
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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