Summary: Pastors are under attack today as never before. Many are overworked, underpaid, stressed-out & crumbling under the pressure of unrealistic expectations & constant crisis. Satan wants to destroy the church & he makes pastors special targets of his attack.
The Office of the Pastor
Intro.: Pastors are under attack today as never before. Many are overworked, underpaid, stressed-out and crumbling under the pressure of unrealistic expectations and constant crisis of their flock. Many churches demand more of their pastors than any person could do. Many identify with the words of Isaiah 49:4b which says, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.”
In a recent survey of American pastors, 70% indicated that they would leave the pastorate if a viable opportunity opened up in another field. One of satan’s objectives is to destroy the church and he makes pastors special targets of attack. Remember, “When the five-fold ministry is not operating properly, the church is handicapped”.
In our RR analogy, the pastor is the porter or steward who cares for the needs and comforts of the passengers.
READ: Eph. 4:11-12, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Acts: 20:28 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”
I. The Nature and Function of the Pastor
A. The shepherd of the flock of God
1. Our word “pastor” comes from the Latin word meaning “herdsman”
2. This word is used 18 times in the NT and is translated “shepherd(s)” in
every instance except in Ephesians 4:11 where it is translated “pastor”
3. This word means “to tend the flock not merely feed them”
a. This is where the idea for a pastor to shepherd, lead, protect, care for and
feed the sheep comes from.
B. A sheep trainer
1. Remember the purpose of the 5-fold ministry. READ: Eph. 4:12-13
2. ANALOGY: Pastoring is a lot like arrow making READ: Psalm 127:3-4
a. Arrow making requires a great deal of patience (up to a year of work)
b. First, the right wood must be found
c. Then it is sanded, soaked (to bring the grain to the surface) & sanded
again. This process is repeated again and again
NOTE: Pastors do the same thing. They sand with the Word and soak with the Spirit again and again to make “straight arrows”
d. The desired end of all this work is a “polished arrow”
3. The “process” is as important as the “product”
a. One problem with the church today is our focus on “event theology”
1. This says that when we pray or lay hands on someone, we can expect
all that is wrong in our lives to be cleared up in an instant
NOTE: Healing or deliverance may come in an instant, but character development takes a lifetime. That’s the problem with sanctification. It’s so daily. We have to die daily to live daily. There are no shortcuts.
4. Arrows are then placed in the quiver
a. A place of maturing, testing and proving
b. The arrow may warp if it was not properly fashioned
c. Before the arrow can properly perform its task, it must be straight
d. The only task of the arrow is to hit its target
NOTE: Some arrows want nothing more than simply to enjoy the flight; to feel the wind rushing by. This is never what God wants! If an arrow fails to hit its target, it fails to fulfill its purpose.
II. The Challenges of the Office of Pastor
NOTE: Pastors face challenges regularly that the other offices seldom face
A. Relational vulnerability
1. The very role of pastors puts them in a position of getting closed to people
on an everyday basis than the other offices.
a. This makes them more emotionally vulnerable
b. It’s this closeness that often leads to high stress and burnout
B. Ministry jealousy
1. Pastors can be jealous and protective of their sheep
2. This usually stems from insecurity about their calling
3. Other anointed, gifted people may be viewed as a threat
EXAMPLE: Over the last few years one of the questions I have often been asked is whether or not I believe the “laughing revival” was of God. I believe that everyone accepted what was happening as from God whether or not they were touched themselves. There were other pastors and people from our city that attended the same meetings, but walked away saying that this was not of God. How could this be? Here’s the answer: many pastors become critical of other ministers with dynamic, powerful ministries – out of a fear that their people will like their preaching more, or give more money to them, etc. It’s easy to become jealous when you feel threatened or jealous.