The first secret every pastor should know is that his role is dualistic in nature. Let me explain:
The pastor’s role is multifaceted; he must be a minister, a preacher/teacher, an administrator, counselor and sometimes a custodian. His role is also dualistic in its nature.
The Pastor first of all is a sheep himself having all of the needs we so relegate to the flock and at the same time he is a shepherd expected to lead, care and nurture the sheep.
How is that for “split personality”!! All kidding aside, a pastor has been charged to identify with those he leads. In order to be an effective pastor/leader we must look at this paradox closely.
I. ROLE #1: The Pastor as a Sheep: Psalm 23
“The Lord is my Shepherd”
David (the Shepherd King) understood that his complete care would come from the Lord. Whether it was where he would lie down and rest (“green pastures”), where he would eat (“table in the presence of enemies”),
What he would do when he went through trouble (“the valley of the shadow of death”). David understood that God would be with him and that God is faithful to meet all the needs that we can have. In the very same way you (the modern day pastor) must know that The Lord is the one who provides for you, and your family, everything that you need. From shelter to clothing and everything in-between God will care for His flock of which you are one. He will guide you and comfort you with His “rod and staff”. His rod is for correction and His staff is for direction. When your dependency rests in God you can take on the great privilege and challenge of leading His flock.
II. Role #2 The Pastor as a Shepherd: John 10
God promised His people that He would give them shepherds “after His heart” (Jer 3:15), that means that if you are called to pastor (shepherd) the people of God you must have the heart of God!! Jesus gives us the best picture of a pastor’s heart in The Gospel of John. In the tenth chapter Jesus described those that are shepherds compared to those that are mere “hirelings.”
Here are 4 qualities of a Shepherd with the heart of God!!!:
- “he calls his sheep by name”- a pastor takes the time to acquaint himself with the people he leads. He spends time getting to know them and forming relations with them. This is not easy in a large church, but a pastor makes sure that his assistants are doing the same with portions of the congregation. Pastors and their wives would be wise to form small groups where they will relate to the flock. There is a danger in becoming aloof from the members of the flock you lead.
- “and leads them out”– The pastor is willing to lead from the front. That means he’s not afraid to make decisions on the path the church will take. Creating “pathways” for the sheep to follow.
3. “he goes on ahead”- Often a shepherd would leave the flock with an assistant and would go ahead to “check out” places to graze or where water was and often to prepare a place to house the sheep. We as pastors should be planning on how to better feed the sheep. Taking study time seriously will benefit the flock. Planning strategies that will help them grow. Building sermon series designed to bring the flock to new levels of understanding and applying God’s word. These should be done well in advance.
4. “his sheep follow him because they know his voice”- much of what we lead people to do is directly connected to how much they know and trust us. People will often follow our lead not because they’re convinced that we are such great leaders, but because we have bared our hearts to them. We have allowed them into our tough moments and they have witnessed first hand how we engage God. They recognize that we are a sheep, just like them, and trusting bond is created. They will follow us because they know us. That is all the more reason we as pastors must maintain our own relationship with God because sometimes that’s what our sheep will know.
Lastly always remember that they are God’s sheep and we are the tenders of the sheep for which we will give an account to the Chief Shepherd.