A previous post, What Do You Think About Your Pastor?, presented the reality that not everyone appreciates their pastor. Here we want to step back and look at how our expectations of what a pastor should be like affects our opinions. Face it, we all come to church with preconceived ideas of what a pastor should do.
The very title, pastor, engenders some expectations. Maybe we think they should be doing what someone with the spiritual gift of pastor would do. But, as noted in Shepherding Ministry Venue: Pastors, not everyone in the position of pastor has the spiritual gift of pastor which could conflict with our expectations. Or maybe we do have someone with the spiritual gift of pastor but we think the person in this role should be visionary or administrative, maybe more concerned about the unsaved, or perhaps a better preacher.
How People with the Spiritual Gift of Pastor Serve in the Position of “Pastor”
Those with the spiritual gift of pastor are the “pastors” who get involved in the individual lives of the flock — meeting needs, caring for them, protecting, guiding, and feeding them — the full-orbed work of a shepherd.
How People with Other Spiritual Gifts Might Serve in the Position of “Pastor”
Some in the position of “pastor” have the gift of leadership.
They are the “pastors” on the cutting edge who are constantly developing new means of ministry. More than tending to the daily and routine needs of the sheep, they are mapping out ways to take the sheep to greener pastures.
Some in the position of “pastor” have the gift of evangelism.
They are the “pastors” who are very seeker-oriented. More than building up believers they are into rescuing lost sheep.
Some in the position of “pastor” have the gift of administration.
They are the “pastors” who tend to emphasize smooth running programs and schedules. More than relating to the sheep, they tend to look after the pasture itself, the water, and the fence to make sure everything is in good condition for the proper care of the sheep.
They are the “pastors” who concentrate on good preaching. More than caring for the sheep’s total well-being, they focus on feeding.
(The above points are included in the Shepherding Ministry Manual where it looks at pastoring as a shepherding ministry venue.)
Adjust Expectations by Understanding the Spiritual Gifting of Your Pastor
When “pastors” have the spiritual gift of pastor, don’t expect them to have time to fully attend to the big picture vision and/or administrative duties of the Church. They’re very busy tending to the nitty-gritties of people’s lives. Their focus is on the sheep themselves not so much smooth running programs, being on the cutting edge, etc.
When “pastors” have gifts other than the gift of pastor, don’t expect them to spend as much time visiting and counseling individual members. They may care about the sheep but their gifting takes their primary focus elsewhere.
You might also be interested in reading: The solution for churches whose “pastor” is not truly a pastor by gifting