The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XIII
Pastoring or shepherding is the point of view or passion to care for, nurture, disciple, and develop someone toward maturity. It is the true form of parenting. As a new born, humans are totally helpless. The only things we can do is breath, sleep, poop, and pass gas. Often a newborn has to be taught how to eat, what to suck in order to be nurtured. A newborn has to be diapered, bathed, rolled over, burped, etc. As it is growing it has to be taught how to walk, talk, eat with a spoon, communicate, dress itself, and be potty trained. Later it has to be taught how to read, draw, write, and develop one’s thinking process.
In the Christian world one is taught, “You must be born again,” alias the salvation message. If you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, your are considered a new born, for “behold the old has passed away, the new has begun.” As human beings, spiritually we need to be “taught” how to walk, talk, and believe in faith. We need to learn the Word, be taught how to listen to the Holy Spirit’s still small voice, how to be disciplined, obedient to the Word, the Bible, and how to live out that Rhema Word in our daily lives.
I contend that we can also pastor out side our church walls. We can help care for, nurture, and develop one to be a successful, loving, positive, caring person, and hopefully then lead them into the Presence of God by having them accept Jesus as their Savior.
In my forty years as a public school teacher, I have tried to pastor the faculty, my peers. I turned what I called the Den of Iniquity, the Faculty Room, which was a haven of complaining about students, staff, and administration, a gossip center, into an area of encouragement, support, and laughter, but it has taken years. I headed the purchasing candy, crackers, snacks, soda, coffee, etc. as a service to them. Profits afforded us to send flowers when a peer was hospitalized or severely ill, purchase personalized coffee mugs with a picture of the staff or building with their personal name on the back in an attempt to bring unity. Profits were also used to finance events to bring our staff together in purely a social environment, building friendships. Transforming this environment changed the entire educational climate of our building positively. It took a lot of work, time, and sacrifice, but the dividends have produced positive fruit.
We all can be positive role models sharing a pastoral spirit to those around you. I have taken new teachers under my wing to praise, to listen to, and to encourage instead of criticizing and gossiping about them, spent time with discouraged teacher helping them through their dark days, sent encouraging emails to a stressed faculty in an effort to make them laugh, popped my head into as many of my peer’s room in a day as possible just to give a positive greeting to get them out of their protective, secluded world of just their room.
Pastoring, or shepherding, should not just be done in a church building setting. The Great Commission is a call to “Go Out” into the world. Those hurting in the world need someone to care for them, to nurture them, to help develop them; someone just to love them. We, the Church, need to provide that “sent out” pastoral touch to the world.