Jer. 3:15; 23:4
The pastoral gift and calling is one of the most important gift to the health of the Church. Pastoral calling is crucial to the perpetuation of the gospel in the world. However, the pastoral ministry has become a laughing stock in the society today due to compromise on the part of Church leaders. Too many things are happening that had and is still undermining the pastoral ministry. Today, every Dick and Harry, Tom and Jerry answers the name ‘Pastor’ and majority are ignorant of the functions of pastoral ministry.
- Unwholesome Ways of Becoming Pastors Today. John 10:11-15
When Church leaders and people are using the following ways to choose, become, ordain and install pastors over Churches, many of our Churches are suffering the ripple effect of increased divorce, scandals, moral failures, stagnation, spiritual bankruptcy and public ridicle of the pastoral ministry today:
▪ Having served in Church committee and deciding to become a pastor.
▪ Head ushers who sees offerings regularly and decide to become a pastor.
▪ Choosing people based on wealth, position and status in secular work.
▪ Having money to build a Church-building and pastoring it for fun.
▪ Promotion from elders, deacons to becoming honorary pastors.
▪ Going to a bible school and being ordained to become a pastor.
▪ Using ethnic bias, favouritism, oratory powers and connection to powers that be to choose pastors.
These are characteristics of hirelings in the ministry today. The hireling is a thief and robber, who is only interested in fleecing the sheep and not feeding them. He doesn’t really have the time to care, show love, compassion and tenderness to the sheep. The hireling is one who is paid to do a job, he has no real heart and call for the sheep. He flees when the wolf comes. He deserts the sheep and the wolf will catch, scatter and devour them. He is a gold-digger and have no care for the sheep. He loves the crowd but hates the people.
- True Shepherd’s Calling: Ps 23; 1 Pet. 5:2-3.
No one can function effectively in the pastoral ministry without a distinct calling from the Lord. The pastoral ministry carry so much burden that it is only those who are called that can receive the grace to be effective.
The call come through vision, dreams, inward voice, revelation and inner conviction. It is the calling that brings the anointing, grace and charisma to be effective.
Clear Definition: The word “Pastor” is borrowed from animal husbandry, particularly, sheep raising. Several biblical words are used as synonyms for pastor. “Elder”, “Presbyter”, “Bishop” and “Shepherd”. A truly called pastor is God’s man in God’s church in God’s time.
The pastor of a group of christian is the person responsible under Jesus, who is the Chief Shepherd, for teaching, feeding, healing wounds, developing unity, helping people find their gifts, and doing whatever else is necessary to see that they continue in the faith and grow in their spiritual lives.
A True Shepherd: Psalm 23
1.“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” vs 1
The role of the true shepherd is to care for the sheep and meet their needs. They need water, pasture, rest, protection, rescue, healing balm, or assistance in giving birth. The needs of sheeps change with seasons…
True shepherds travel long distance to find food for their sheep.
2.“He maketh me lie down in green pastures” vs 2. John 21:15-17
The true shepherd does not beat the sheep into submission until they lie down. Rather, he creates the environment in which the sheep will lie down.
They will not lie down if they are afraid of their safety.
They will not lie down if there is friction and tumoil within the flock.
They will not lie down if they are hungry.
They will not lie down if they are tormented by flies or parasites.
A true shepherd is close to his sheep. He has not distanced himself from them and their needs. He knows them well. He is close enough to notice the wolf circling the frightened flock. His voice calms the sheep.
3.“He leadeth me beside the still waters”
True shepherds provide clean water for the flock. If the water is polluted,
contaminated and ruffled, the sheep will not drink. Thirsty sheep will always
stampede in the direction of water. You can dig wells of fresh water for your sheep, else, they go for polluted and contaminated ones.
4.“He leadeth me in the part of righteousness” vs 2, 3
Herding is not leading. The true shepherd gives the direction of the journey. He charts the course, pinpoint the danger zones and leads to green pastures. He must bring the flock to place of refreshing. In places of danger, he goes before, in places of safety, he comes behind.
A good shepherd does not drive or heard the sheep from the rear of the flock. It is better to lead from the front than to push from the back. Sheeps lack direction and are afraid of the way when the shepherd is not leading them wisely, gently and confidently from the front.
5.“Through the valley of the shadow of death” vs 4
Every shepherd knows that the path will not be easy. Some days are filled with sunshine and green pastures. Others are filled with shadows and winds. Valley of death is not always physical: hope dies, faith dies, marital fidelity dies, trust and confidence dies. In each case, the pastor must come alongside and walk through these valleys with those who are hurting.
6.“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” vs 4.
The rod must correct, rescue wayward sheep and bring comfort to the sheep. The rod is used to detect any injuries sustained by the sheep.
The staff drives away snakes, draw a sheep closer for nurturing, reassurance and encouragement. Each staff is unique to each shepherd.
The word and gifts of the Spirit often become a rod and staff in the hands of the anointed pastor.
7.“In the presence of my enemies” vs 5
The shepherd and the sheep are the targets of the enemy. A good shepherd will protect himself and the sheep against the onslaught of the enemy. If the shepherd falls, the sheep will scatter. Zechariah 13:7. When the pastor fails, the protection is removed from the flock, leaving them vulnerable to the enemies’ attack. Shepherds must stay with sheep for a long time so as to lead them to true fruitfulness. The sin of the shepherd is the sin of the congregation.
8.“Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life” vs 6.
That is the end for those who have come under the care of a good shepherd. They have survived the trials and temptations of life. The broken has been healed. The lost have been found. It is a good end.
The shepherd himself ends well too. By having good mentors, fear of the Lord, a learning posture and continuous spiritual growth, all ends well, both for the sheep and the shepherd. 1 Tim. 4:16.
From the foregoing, we can see that pastoring involves so much more than just preaching on Sunday. It is a tough job that requires much grace, wisdom,
anointing and patience. He that is not truly called and gifted for such task cannot really be effective. Grow and bloom where you are planted.
Every truly called pastor must sow seed of life, feed the people and lead them to the promised land.
BOOKS BY BOLA AKIN-JOHN
- Fruitful and Fulfilling Ministry Today
- Grow the Pastor Grow the Church
- Sexual Purity in Leadership
- Money, Ministers and Ministry Today
- 22 Dynamic Laws of Church Growth
- 25 Pillars of Church Health
- Personal Growth Today
- The Loyal Associate
- Guest Ministers Today
- 120 Strategic Ways to Increase Church Attendance
- Quality and Quantity Growth in Churches
- Strategic Church Planting Today
- Spiritual Warfare for Dynamic Church Growth
- Supernatural Power, Miracles, Signs and Wonders Today
- Church Change
- The Place of Anointing and Administration in Church Growth
- Pulpit Power for Church Growth
- Daily Nourishment for Leaders
- Healthy Leaders Healthy Churches
- Anointing Alone is Not Enough
- 101 Ministry Lessons
- Healthy Home
- Small Middle-Size and Mega Churches
- How to follow well
- Strategic Living
- True success in ministry
- Rise and Fall of Churches / Ministries
- Closing the Back Door
- 25 Indispensable Qualities of a Competent and Credible Minister
- Church Growth Principles of Jesus
- Your Church Your Community
- Your Growth is Your Future
- Frank Talk to Men
- The Cell Church
- Our Churches and His Church
- How to Support & Strengthen your Pastor
- 101 ways to progressively kill a church
- The Real Man in Every Church
- Matured Pastor’s Wife & Female Minister
- Pray and Grow
- Short Course on Family Growth
- Short Course on Church Growth
- Short Course on Wholesome Sexuality
- Short Course on Financial Growth
- Short Course on Personal Growth
- Fundamental Teaching & Doctrines of the Bible
- With Jesus in the School of Money
- Holy Spirit the True Vicar of Life and Ministry
- Five Fold Ministry
- Prophet & Prophetic Ministry Today
- Leading your Church to Lasting Growth
- Your Image is Your Growth
- Conflict and Crisis in Ministry
- Thy Kingdom Come
- DiscipleShift Today
- Healthy Local Church
- Congregational and Cell Church Today
- Heart of a Christian
- Overseer and Senior Pastor Hand book 1
- Abusive Pastor Abusive Churches
- Church Turn-Around Strategies
- Pastor and People’s Price For Church Growth
- Fatherhood and Sonship
- Healthy Woman Minister
- Women In Church Growth Resource
- Kingdom Stewardship
- Overcome At The Gate
- Healthy Pastor, Dangerous Pastor
- Sexually Wholesome Church
- Healthy Pastors, Dangerous Pastor
- Impact-Driven Church
- Clergy Coupes
- Apostolic Ministry
- Evangelist Ministry
- Pastoral Ministry
- Prophetic Ministry
- Teaching Ministry
- Your Church Can Grow in a Healthy Way
- Real Men Resource
- Strong Christian, Strong Christian
- Planting Disciples-Making Church
- Front and back Door of Your Church
- Discipleship Process Recourse
- True Biblical Church Growth is still Possible
- Daily Nourishment 2
- Reaching and Disciplining Children and Youth in today’s Church
- Eschatology and Kingdom Teaching Resource
- I Can’t Breathe