The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XIV
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.
The elderly couple next store still strives for their independence, but during poor weather and visibility with the fear of driving in the dark; they need pastoral care, so go to the pharmacy, grocery store, etc. for them. The single guy across the street is often home alone most week day nights, probably lonely; take some snacks and go spend sometime with him or invite him over to your house. The couple that has toddlers spends 24/7 with the kids, give them two prepaid movie tickets and babysit their kids so they can have a night out. The stay at home mother spends all days with children; she craves for “adult conversation”. Women, make her part of your day by walking with her and the kids, having tea or coffee sporadically with her, calling her on the phone. These are just a few practical examples of “pasturing”, “shepherding”, taking care of others.
In a five fold setting a pastor/shepherd and an evangelist are indispensable for each other. If a believer cares for unbelievers, those they care for are more likely to receive the evangelistic gospel message with less resistance. Pastoring cultivates or prepares the ground, plants the seeds of faith, service, and care, so the evangelist can reap the harvest easier. Also those that the evangelist births, needs a spiritual pastor to nurture them. The purpose of the five fold is to “equip” the saints for the “work” of the “service”.
Pastoring/shepherding is “work” for the purpose of “serving”. The more you serve; the more productive you become. My question is how do we “equip” a person with a pastoral passion to be “sent out”? Today the church would say with proper Bible training, probably several years of formal Bible School or Seminary. No, my question wasn’t how do you make or develop a person to become a professional pastor, but how do you “equip” a person with a pastoral passion to be “sent out”?
You “equip” him with those things he needs to “care” for others, those things needed to “love your neighbor as yourself”. If it isn’t good enough for you; it isn’t good enough for your neighbor.” Why do we give our left over clothes to those in need that aren’t good enough for ourselves any more, rather than giving our best. We need to give as “unto the Lord”. Are we to give only “what’s left over” to Him, or do we give our best? One year, when reaching out to two families we fellowship with who were in need, we gave every person in our group new, fresh, whitey-tidies, alias underwear and under clothes. It was one of the neatest Christmas parties that I have been a part of!
“Equipping the saints” also means giving other believers, my brother and sister in the Lord, my gifting to aid their effort. That is why a pastor needs an evangelist, a teacher, a prophet, and an apostle around him/her to help “equip” him in a joint “body” ministry, where the church is not an individual but a body, a group of believers pulling for the same common good, the kingdom of God. The pastorally gifted believer CAN NOT nurture, disciple, develop, or care for the sheep ALONE! He needs the teacher to teach “how to walk this walk of faith practically, not how to talk it without walking it. The teacher needs to be part of this pastoral endeavor. The prophet needs to get their head out of heaven all the time, and recite “thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”. Helping the pastor nurture these infants in the Lord in how to listen to the voice of God and be obedient is aiding in the pastoral role. The apostle “covers” these infants, coordinating endeavors to make sure the toddlers in Jesus are fed physically and spiritually, nurtured and developed properly physically and spiritually in their growth into the likeness of Jesus.
Pastoring/Shepherding CAN NOT BE DONE ALONE, it needs a five fold ministry team or effort to effectively care for, nurture, and help grow a sinner into a saint, and a saint into the image of Jesus! God bless a person with a passion to pastor/shepherd.