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Summary: The role of a pastor/teacher is much more than that of a carer. Psalm 23 illustrates to us from the Good Shepherd what is involved in this ministry that is intended to lead others to maturity in Christ.

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3.7.11

PASTORS AND TEACHERS -- Psalm 23

INTRO

Have you ever thought of entering the ministry? Maybe you have. Or maybe you haven't and you wonder how a church pastor spends their time during the week.

What is involved:

There is a well-worn joke that pastor's work only one day a week. It's about as funny as a 2.30 appointment at the dentist.

There are lots of committee meetings, action points to follow up on, phone calls and emails to respond to, visits to make, sermons to prepare, books to read, time devoted to personal devotions and prayer and finding a diversion from ministry in order to rest.

Much of what a full-time pastor does is hidden because of confidentiality. Pastoral work includes leadership, administration and bearing the burden that is sometimes placed upon a pastor's shoulder.

Burden bearing is a demanding part of pastoral ministry.

George Barna has collated some shocking statistics on pastoral ministry and the dropout rate because of what could generally be described as stress.

* Only 1 in 10 people who enter pastoral ministry will retire whilst still in some form of ministry.

* And the number one reason why pastors leave ministry is to do with direction, and the accumulating effects of the conflict that arises when Church people have differing ideas of the direction the Church should take but not willing to follow the same direction together. Congregations can be unwilling or very reluctant to change and follow in the direction that Pastor believes to be right and best for the Church together.

POINT

* In many respects Pastoral ministry today is similar to, but different from, pastoral ministry in New Testament times. At Westwood we recognise pastoral gifting in the membership. This is not only in the members of the pastoral team. There are others among us who have a notable pastoral gifts and ministry.

* What are the similarities and the differences we find between our practise and New Testament practise?

How can we be helped not only to recognise if this is our gift but also how we can excel in exercising it?

* In recent weeks we have taken a look at the three of the five ministries of apostles, prophets and evangelists in the early church. Today we are going to take a look at the last two ministries grouped together: that of pastors and teachers.

READINGS

Ephesians 4:11-16; Psalm 23

Expectations of pastors have altered through the generations. There was a time when churches would look for pastors to be evangelists who would persuade large numbers of people to become Christians. Later this shifted an expectation that the pastor's role was to nurture the congregation and respond to the needs of individuals. Now, in addition to the traditional roles of preaching, visiting and taking weddings and funerals etc the ability of the pastor is measured by their ability to organize, build and manage a complex organization, leading to new levels of growth. (James Thomson -- Pastoral Ministry according to Paul p9).

Let's return to what the Bible shows us.

THESIS: The role of the pastor/teacher is to assist Christian believers towards maturity in Christ.


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