Principles For Effective Pastoral Ministry - 2

Title: Principles For Effective Pastoral Ministry - 2
Category: Pastoral Issues
Subject: Pastoral Ministry
Principles For Effective Pastoral Ministry - 2

Dr. Roger D. Willmore
Weaver, Alabama


We now turn attention from the call to pastoral ministry to role and practical responsibilities of the pastoral ministry.

The word PASTOR is found one time in the New Testament in Ephesians 4:11. The word in the original is poimen. It means feeder. It carries the idea of shepherd, one who tends herds or flocks. W. E. Vine states that the word refers to one who tends herds or flocks (not merely one who feeds them). The word is used metaphorically of Christian "pastors".

Notice how the Apostle Paul used the word when he met with the Ephesian elders at Miletus, Acts 20:28, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with his own blood." NKJV

Dr. Lynn Anderson, in his book, They Smell Like Sheep, makes some noteworthy observations about the shepherding metaphor.

Anderson states that the shepherd metaphor shows up more than five hundred times in Scripture, across both Old and New Testaments. Without question the dominant biblical model for spiritual leadership is the shepherd and the flock. If we want to embrace the biblical model for leadership, we must embrace the concept of the shepherd. p.13


In the "olden days" of the Old Testament world, the watchcare of God was Himself and is pictured in the shepherd/sheep relationship.

One of the best known and most beautiful passages in the Bible states this truth:

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastors; He leads me beside the still waters....Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23 NKJV.

Notice these beautiful words recorded by the prophet Isaiah as he describes the nature of God: "He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." Isaiah 40:11 NKJV


In the New Testament, Jesus is our shepherd.

Luke records a clear picture of the Lord Jesus as our shepherding model:

"What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?" Luke 15:4 NKJV

Luke reminds us that after this loving shepherd has found the lost sheep he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.

Good spiritual shepherds today imitate the chief shepherd. Like Him, they attract flocks through loving service and authentic relationships. Like Him, they feed and protect their flocks. They know their flocks and their flocks know them.

Anderson also describes the Contemporary Shepherd in a very practical way.

A shepherd is someone who has a flock. His point is that some ministers have an office of a position, but they do not have a flock.

Flocks naturally gather around food, protection, affection, touch and voice. Biblical shepherds are those who live among the sheep; serve the sheep; feed, water and protect the sheep; touch and talk to the sheep - even lay down their lives for their sheep. Biblical shepherds smell like sheep.

Church leaders who shepherd well will foster congregational infrastructures that leave them plenty of time and opportunity for flock-building. A good deal of their leadership will be hands on and personal - for this is how flocks are formed.

The shepherd and flock relationship eloquently implies at least three qualities of spiritual leadership:

availability, commitment, and Trust. This is how spiritual flocks are formed today.

1. Relationships Require Availability.

2. Relationships Require Commitment

Modern-day shepherds rarely have the opportunity to spend much constant time with their sheep; but the intentionality of Christ, His relationship approach, His commitment - these we can emulate.

3. Relationships Require Trust

Sheep follow their shepherd "because they know his voice". He never abandons or misleads them.

In a society where trust is rarely extended or deserved, the "shepherd" style of leadership - by its very nature - inspires trust.