Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Heart of God's Pastors

Lately, I've been thinking about what determines if someone is really a pastor and I agree with Darin Hufford's statement that "If you're not a relational pastor, you're not pastoring."

The heart of a true pastor is to care for the people of God but instead of it being a natural  function of a person's life, being a pastor has become a profession.  However, a real pastor doesn't care about having a title because his or her fulfillment is in seeing the needs of the people being met.

In today's church, however, the role of a pastor now involves speaking in front of a group as well as running a church organization.  As a result , many people who are called pastor don't actually pastor nor are they gifted as pastors.  Although they may be gifted as teachers or organizers, if they're not actively involved in caring for the people, they are not pastoring. 

The biggest problem with a pastor being defined as the leader of a local church is that many people who are actually gifted as pastors don't recognize their gifting because they don't lead a church.  I believe there are many pastors sitting in pews who lack direction because the title of pastor has been changed into a profession instead of a heart calling.  As a result, they feel lost and frustrated because they are not functioning as they were created to function.  The truth is that pastors will pastor but many are holding back because they fear overstepping the bounds that have been set up by the institutional church.  Leaders in the church should be helping these people to recognize their gifting and encouraging them to begin pastoring but unfortunately this is not always happening.

My purpose in writing this is not to tear down those who presently have the title of pastors. My desire in posting these thoughts is that God's people would be set free to begin moving forward in their calling.  God's pastors need to be functioning freely because only then will we see the fulfillment of Ephesians 4:11-16. This would also free church leaders to do whatever they do best whether it's to teach or to organize without the added stress of trying to pastor.


Joel Brueseke said...

Very good, Aida!

This part really stuck out to me because it's been my experience in the church: "The biggest problem with a pastor being defined as the leader of a local church is that many people who are actually gifted as pastors don't recognize their gifting because they don't lead a church."

Around a decade ago I was in a small group and we all did one of those "spiritual gifts" surveys. My top gift was pastor/shepherd, and I remember kind of questioning that idea in front of everyone. But they pointed out to me that they totally see that in me - my love, care and compassion for people, etc.

Ever since I was a boy people would always ask me if I was going to be a pastor like my dad. But I could never see myself leading a church, and I still have no desire whatsoever to do that. But when I realized that a pastor, in the biblical sense, doesn't really have anything to do with leading a church, but has much more to do with caring for people, the calling of "pastor" made much more sense to me. (That said, my pastor-dad was gifted as a leader. In his case it worked really well).

Anyway, I've also learned that I'm gifted as a "teacher," and that also doesn't mean that I personally have any desire to lead a church. :) It's simply the way that God has designed me to fit into His body.

Aida said...

Joel, that’s exactly why I wrote this post. I believe the church is being held back from being all it could be because the hands of its pastors have been tied by tradition. I know people who pastor wherever they go and my desire is to see all pastors freed to pastor wherever God opens the door.

Although I’m not a pastor, I am a teacher and I think it’s wonderful that the internet has given us an avenue to teach whatever is on our heart without having to funnel it through an institution. I believe that’s how God intended for it to be. That we would all just function in our calling as a natural part of our lives without the need to advertise what we can do or to have a title.

Joanna Wert said...

Good point. I use my gifts both inside and outside of the church. My motivational gift is prophecy, but I rate high in intercession and evangelizing, too, but I exercise them very much from a prophetic slant.