Do We Care for the Sheep or Do We Use the Sheep? - Tim Challies https://chrisonet.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Do-We-Care-for-the-Sheep-or-Do-We-Use.jpeg
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Some of my favourite and most difficult descriptions of pastoral ministry come from the 20 th chapter of Acts and Pauls farewell deal with to the Ephesian elders. Right here Paul the planter and pastor is bidding a last farewell to the elders at a church he loves. And in verse 28 he involves what I consider is his description of the guts of pastoral ministry. Pay cautious consideration to yourselves and to all of the flock, during which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to take care of the church of God, which he obtained together with his personal blood.

Paul tells us right here concerning the pastors calling, and as he does that, he turns to the metaphor of sheep and shepherds. The pastor is an overseer or shepherd who cares for a flock. On the coronary heart of ministry is that this: the pastor is a shepherd known as to have a tendency sheep. However its necessary for the pastor to remembernot simply as soon as, however once more and againthat the sheep are usually not his. He’s merely an under-shepherd who labors on behalf of the Head Shepherd. This flockthese sheepdont belong to the pastor. They dont exist for the pastor. They belong to God and exist for God. The pastor is to are inclined to them, to take care of them, on behalf of God. Nonetheless else a pastor pertains to his sheep, and no matter else he does for the sheep, he should first take care of them.

However here’s what I’ve been pondering over the previous few weeks and even months: The temptation amongst pastors to use the sheep as an alternative of have a tendency the sheep. As I journey far and broad, I encounter church buildings that appear to be conducting outstanding issues, or not less than that intend to perform outstanding issues. Lots of them have set a few of these notorious BHAGsbig, furry, audacious objectives. Theyve determined they need to plant 1,000 church buildings, they need to develop to 10,000 members, they need to ship a missionary to each nation on earth.

There’s typically a lot to admire right here. Our church buildings are vulnerable to develop apathetic and that apathy can typically be addressed by ambition. In the meantime, we all know that the time is brief and the mission is pressing, so there’s good purpose to press onerous.

However generally Ive needed to surprise: Is it actually the church thats formidable, or is it the pastor? Some individuals have large ambition and as a way to obtain such ambition they want assets. The useful resource most on the disposal of the pastor is peoplethe individuals who attend their church buildings. And so I see this temptation for a pastor to make use of individuals because the useful resource or the uncooked materials by means of which he can obtain his personal ambitions.

The pastors ambitions could also be excellent and really noble. These ambitions might mobilize individuals to turn into a part of his flock and to hitch in his mission. But it surely strikes me that the guts of the pastors calling, not less than as Paul describes it, is just not mobilizing individuals or deploying individuals, however caring for them. My buddy Peter factors out that within the arms of pushed and bold pastors, individuals can come to be seen as beasts of burden to be pushed greater than sheep to be tended. Every particular person added to a church is just not one other valuable sheep to be cared for, however one other useful resource to be deployed.

I do know the human coronary heart effectively sufficient to know its attainable for a pastor to idiot himself into pondering he’s caring for the sheep by deploying the sheep. And I do know full effectively that some sheep are completely effectively cared for and wanting to be put to work in reaching some nice aim. However nonetheless I believe it behooves each pastor to ask: Is it attainable that these grand objectives are literally only a means by means of which I really feel validated? Am I actually caring for Gods sheep, or am I utilizing them as a useful resource in a type of quest for self-fulfillment? Am I actually doing whats proper within the eyes of God or am I doing what makes me look good within the eyes of my friends?

God calls each pastor to take care of Gods sheep. No matter else a pastor does, he can by no means compromise that core mission. There’s a place for formidable objectives, Im positive, however they need to come after the sheep have been correctly cared for, not earlier than. If a church has massive, furry, audacious objectives for reaching the neighborhood or saving the world, however the individuals within the church dont know the pastors and arent identified by the pastors, that church could also be doing one thing very improper. If the churchs ardour is much less about caring for the sheep than placing the sheep to work, one thing has gone improper. No matter else a church does, nevertheless else a pastor leads, it mustn’t ever be accomplished on the expense of the core calling of caring for Gods valuable, blood-bought sheep.

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