My Dad has a pastor’s heart. He set a high standard for ministry and he has written some thoughts on the need for good shepherds. He was and is a good shepherd.
Here are his thoughts:
The people of God are called ‘the salt of the earth’, lights in a dark world, the Body of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the advance of His Church.Another description that refers to God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments is: we are sheep. And sheep need a shepherd. Sheep are prone to wander off, to be attacked by wolves and devoured. We need a shepherd. God is known as the Shepherd of Israel, and gave them priests, prophets and kings to serve as His instruments, to look after His sheep. His anger is loosed upon false shepherds who serve themselves instead of caring for His sheep.Jesus comes as THE GOOD SHEPHERD. He describes in John 10 the attributes of a good shepherd. He is one who loves the sheep, and cares for them, even to the point of laying down his life for them.In setting in order His Church, the first function mentioned is the office of Pastor. Early pastors of an area were called bishop,or overseer.Overseers of what?His flock, His Church.There are many needs today among God’s sheep, but I believe the greatest need is for God to raise up pastors. The sheep at our present time have been disappointed in their shepherds. This is true in all branches of Christianity. Shepherds too often have served themselves, not been holy, and have abused little lambs. They have perverted the teachings of Holy Scripture and desired to participate in the spirit of this age.I was in a large ecumenical gathering after a scandal had been revealed that hurt many of God’s sheep. At that meeting a highly respected priest addressed the large gathering and, I believe, spoke prophetically, expressing the Good Shepherd’s anger at what was being done to His sheep, and declaring that He would raise up shepherds after His heart. That need is even greater now.The Church has many needs. We need administrators, but the Church is not merely a business that needs to be run efficiently. The Church needs buildings, and the Lord in not against beautiful sheepfolds, but He is more interested in the sheep inside. We need good liturgists, and proper worship is important, but the Lord is more concerned about feeding the sheep and caring for the lambs than perfect liturgy.We need the teaching of sound doctrine. I remember the Lord dealing with me after a person had addressed the flock I was pastoring. I felt He said to me, ‘you let my people eat poison.’Sound theology is very important, but having every doctrine letter perfect is not as important as tending the hurting sheep. We need good preachers who can articulate well the message of Christ. But the greater need is for men to embody the Word in their very being. If that is the case, the message will be communicated even through stammering lips.The sheep will know when their shepherd loves them and will feel safe under his care. They will learn the that the Good Shepard knows them and loves them. Lambs will grow, the ewes and rams will flourish, and the message of the Kingdom will go forth.One may receive a fine seminary education, but being a good shepherd is not so much a matter of the head as the heart. I have known men who were limited in formal training, were not great speakers, but were good pastors because they loved God’s sheep.Lord, raise up good shepherds to care for Your flock.Amen