Expanding our traditional paradigm of Pastoral calling!
"Are pastors only called to shepherd the flock, or are they called to shepherd other shepherds in their flock, if they focus on the one without the other will their shepherding be seriously shelf-lifed?"
I challenged all pastors to take seriously their calling to shepherd not only their flocks but the shepherds in their present flocks, to lay aside other commitments that may constrain them in that in order that the body is ministered to by a plurality of shepherds rather than one to four 'trained professionals'. I further challenge these shepherds to consider developing macro-homeletics out of their micro-homeletics to pass on to these other shepherds under their care, what might this look like?
An incarnational witness first of all to these other shepherds of what real shepherding ministry is like in their local bodies - this translates into invovling the younger shepherds in the messiness of the politics that happen in the church, allowing them to be touched by the sins and weaknesses of the leadership, in a word it involves vulnerability on the part of the leaders. It also involves the leaders admiting that they cannot do the shepherding ministry on their own but rather need the organic expression of a multiplicity of gifts and shepherds - which might also lead into a redefining of what the 'ministry of the word' is supposed to look like.
A biblical theology is the second component of this model. Its no mystery why the Reformers both past and present sought to meet with oneanother and study scripture as a community, this form of fellowship can lead to a maturation of biblical theology and hermeneutics in the lives of the younger shepherds as well as a refreshing multi-perspectival reading of the horizon of the contemporary church and the current trends of biblical theology in the Christian academy that many pastors may be missing due to their faithful focus on their local bodies.
An incarnational mission is the last component of this model. Without deed the word is misconstrued in the life of the theologian, and without word the deeds are merely humanitarian. Shepherds need to lead in developing and implementing in a partnership fashion, the creation of an environment where new missional ministries can be lead and created by the younger shepherds in the local body. This parternship should carry over beyound the creation of the environment, rather it needs to lead into the actuality of new ministries in the life of the church, ministries that are not only inward focused but also outward focused. Attatched to the labor of the older shepherds comes the responsibility and humility of the younger shepherds to pursue this spiritual development and pursue it with a teachable heart.
These thoughts were meant to be brief and serve as a trampolene for further concreate implementation. What might be ways this could begin, and what are the barriers to its progress?
One obstruction to this developing in the local church is that its absence has already created a culture that prevents its construction, this culture can be seen in the inability of the older shepherds to have time for such a model or for the younger shepherds having the interest or external testimony to encourage them to enter into it. The older shepherds are to busy because they are largely solo shepherds and the younger shepherds are not interested because they don't see any real opportunity to lead and be inovative due to the lack of previous welcome they've expereinced or at least the only nominal welcome they've recieved.
What are your thoughts on these matters?