True pastoral calling and ministry
The pastoral gift and calling is one of the most important gifts 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 are still undermining the pastoral ministry. Today, every Dick, Tom, Harry and Jerry answers the name ‘Pastor’ and majority is 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 ridicule of the pastoral ministry today:
• Having served in Church committee and deciding to become a pastor.
• Head ushers who see 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 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 or 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 has 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 carries so much burden that it is only those called that can receive the grace to be effective.
The call comes 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 and 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.
• True Shepherd: Psalm 23
• “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 sheep change with seasons…True shepherds travel long distance to find food for their sheep.
• “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 turmoil 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.
Dr. Francis Akin-John, Church Growth Consultant,
Growth Centre, 6/8, Mukadaz Close, Off Palace Way, Iyana-odo B/Stop, Isheri-LASU Road, Lagos. 08023000714 firstname.lastname@example.org