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THOUGHTS ON THE PASTOR

The term PASTOR (poimen) is found one time (or "never") in the New Testament in reference to the position of pastor in the Church, exclusive of any reference to the Lord Jesus as pastor. The sole occurrence is in Ephesians 4, where the term poimen is combined with didaskalos (teacher)-- actually ine plural forms "poimenas kai didaskalous."

Eph 4:10

He who descended is the same also who ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave

some, apostles; and
some, prophets; and some,
evangelists; and
some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

The structure of the Greek seems to indicate that there is one gift called "pastor-teacher." And since this is the only time in the NT that we find the word "pastor" applied to a position in the Church (exclusivie of Christ Himself), one might almost say that "pastor" never occurs! But it does occur with "teacher."

FUNCTIONS OF PASTOR INDICATED BY THE ACTUAL TERM

The word "poimen" in Greek literally refers to a shepherd, a man who cares for sheep. Thus it is figurative when applied to a man who cares for believers, God's sheep. Because "shepherd" is used for "pastor," the functions of a shepherd are indicative of the functions of a pastor.

The functions suggested by the term "shepherd" include: 1. feeder, 2. protector, 3. leader.

1. THE PASTOR IS A TEACHER: FEED THE SHEEP

The combination "pastor-teacher" in Ephesians also indicatS the teaching role of a pastor. "Pastor-teacher" combines the figurative term with the literal term: One might say that the first task of a shepherd is to feed his sheep, including giving water to drink; Psalm 23 speaks about "green pastures" and "He leadeth me beside still waters."

It is obvious that there is a great variation in the quality and quantity of food that a pastor feeds his sheep. Some people go to church and hear a master preacher dish out delicious spiritual food. Others go week after week to a sorry fare. The preacher fails to prepare the food! He grabs scraps of garbage and threw it to the flock. Some preachers put the flock to sleep. But what hungry man would sleep through a banquet? But all too often, there is no banquet.

I have never taken care of sheep, only dogs. Dogs have the ability to show disinterest in food, like church members who sleep during the sermon. Mostly dogs show disinterest in dog food, being very interested in human food, particularly meat. But too often out of the pulpit comes dog food, no meat!

What is the cause of this inflicted anorexia on the flock? One cause can be that the pastor is out of fellowship with the Supreme Shepberd, from where the real food comes -- indeed He is the real food! Our Lord says that the flock needs to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Therefore, a good pastor will feed the flock with Christ. ("Sirs, we would see Jesus.")

Then the pastor may be lazy and find himself on Saturday night with no meal prepared for Sunday morning. Perhaps then he goes to the cupboard and finds stale bread. He leafs through the yellow pages of old, moldly sermons made years ago with little application to the flock of today. Brushing the dust off such, a psuedo-pastor thinks: "I can just read this tommorrow morning."

Sheep can die of thirst. They need water. I have heard two particularly abominable sermons in my life: what made them abominable was the fact that in neither sermon was one verse of scripture quoted. But the Word of God is what the sheep must feed on, or die of thrist.

I have heard of a pastor who began his ministry at a church by putting out a questionnaire to the members asking them what they wanted from him. Then, after he got the list, he proceded to try to provide the desires of the flock. His congregation is now huge.

There is the obvious flaw in the above procedure in that it could be that a congregation has carnal desires which a pastor would not satisfy. However, a pastor should understand what the needs of the flock are. One rule of intervention is FIRST ASSESS. Before one sets out on a nutritional program, the dietary needs of the sheep would well be assessed. Are they iron deficient? Need Vitamin C? A good pastor does not ignore the nutritional needs of the sheep.

2. THE PASTOR IS A PROTECTOR: PROTECT THE SHEEP

When David was a young shepherd, he fought off the lion and the bear when his sheep were attacked. Many doctrinal abominations attack the flock today; heresy. A pastor must confront the lions and bears.

3. THE PASTOR IS A LEADER: LEAD THE SHEEP

If the sheep do not follow the shepherd, something is wrong. The likely reason is that the shepherd is not feeding them. If I get out fried chicken, my dog will come running. I expect sheep to be likewise attracted by quality sheep food.

A great amount of effort is put into leading sheep. Even special sheep dogs are used. This indicates that sheep are prone to stray. Sheep need direction lest they get lost. It simply will not do for a pastor to watch the sheep and just follow the direction they stray in. It does not provide leadership for a pastor at a business meeting to lick his finger, put it up in the air, and see which way the wind is blowing. It is against the leadership principle to simply try to find out where the sheep want to stray to and go along with that. No, a pastor should be out in front, leading the sheep.

Blessed are the sheep who have a competent shepherd.