"Pastor" is a common description of the Christian leader's role.
Using your own recent observation and experience, discuss the value and the disadvantages in this imagery
The term 'Pastor` is a title most people in western culture are familiar with. Pastoral care and pastoral services are phrases which are not today restricted to the religious world. However, an understanding of what it means to be 'Pastoral` can often be misinterpreted; and, particularly so, within the precincts of the Christian church.
This assignment will assess the value and disadvantages of the image of 'Pastor` in the area of Christian leadership. The paper will be structured to provide a balanced appraisal in which each side of value or difficulty will be considered. Personal pastoral experience; biblical principles, and recent observations will be combined together and used as means of evaluation.
The paper will subtly ask if the title Pastor works well in a local church context. This question will then be more clearly addressed and personally evaluated, in the concluding part of the piece,
A Biblical Portrait
Christian Pastors are not granted the liberty of setting their own model for leadership. Throughout scripture God has laid down the criteria for those who will lead his people. The image which is often used is that of 'Shepherd Leadership`. Indeed, the word 'Pastor` derives from the Latin word which means 'To Shepherd.` Within this paradigm, Christian leadership remains distinct, and pastors who are called to lead the church fulfil a unique role.
As with any area of Christian calling, Jesus sets the definitive example for those engaged in leadership. Jesus described himself as, "The Good Shepherd" (John 10:11). This text is Jesus' claim to be the definitive leader of the people of God. By using the word 'good` Christ deliberately points to a form of leadership that had become corrupt. One example of this is found in Ezekiel 34. In this chapter God laments over the shepherds of Israel who, for selfish gain, had neglected the people and become unfaithful. This is a picture of shepherd leadership which has entirely lost its sacrificial essence. When Jesus uses the term 'Good Shepherd` (John 10:11), it is meant to contrast what had gone before.
Moreover, as part of the text of the 'Good Shepherd` Jesus declares, "The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep". This may be looked upon as the ultimate act of service within the area of leadership. Church leaders do not exist for their own benefit; rather, they are set in place for the wellbeing of the flock of God. To lead authentically, pastors must lay down their own will, and sometimes much of their life.
N T Wright remarks on the 'Good Shepherd` metaphor and says, "You can tell the difference between the true shepherd and the false one by what they do. The false shepherd saves his prospects at the cost of his reputation. The true shepherd shows who he is by being prepared to...