WHAT IS THE MINISTRY OF PASTORING? (1)
This blog today comes about as a direct result of a question I was asked in our weekly Ministers Meeting held last Friday. The meeting is made of those who are currently in Ministry, those who are “retired” and those not currently in a formal position of Leadership. It is the highlight of my week, as the fellowship is so special, and the sharing is so edifying, and often very thought provoking.
I need to preface my remarks before I share the question, by saying that my readers know the burden of my heart is what I call Biblical Discipleship and Mentoring, so my thinking and understanding may be different to others. But, I also wonder if there needs to be a MUCH broader understanding on this essential topic.
The question was (Now that you are “retired”) DO YOU MISS PASTORING? My immediate response was “as far as I am concerned (even though I am not in a formal Ministry position in my local church) I am still Pastoring”. All that I do daily whether it be intercession, writing, video or face to face Mentoring or preaching is “shepherding” (or Pastoring). Some will immediately respond and say “John you have a one track mind on the subject”. In the following blog/s I hope to be able to show you that Pastoring is a very broad topic, and either we can be ignorant of some of the aspects of this ministry, or only do the things we “like”. We can even hide behind our type of personality or temperament, and refuse to do certain things. Two others in the meeting responded to the question and both said “I miss preaching”. My question/response is this, “Is preaching the main function of a Pastor”, although very important, I personally don’t think so. From 50+ years of Pastoral Ministry my experience is this. The Sheep are not really that fussed about what the Greek text says, or how well you exegete the text, but they sure want to know they are loved and cared for.
Over the years I have been greatly blessed by the Pastoral/Teaching ministry of Rev. Dr. Frank Damazio the Senior Minister of City Bible church in Portland Oregon USA. Only yesterday I saw this quote by him that challenged me.
THE HEART OF THE SHEPHERD IS THE CLOSEST THING TO THE HEART OF GOD FOR HIS CHURCH. THE CHRISTIAN LEADER MUST DO MORE THAN UNDERSTAND IT- HE OR SHE MUST LIVE IT.
You may have noted that I have started to use the word shepherding more, this will come much clearer in the following blog/s.
This series of blogs may produce some varied responses, I am sure open to broadening my thinking, I hope you are too.