What is the role of a pastor? I often wonder how I should answer this question for myself doing ministry and for those thinking of being vocationally involved in the church. While I might be called a “director” the reality is that I do pastoral ministry so I must fully contemplate what that means so I can venture to do it better. In my short time in ministry I am learning that pastoral ministry has two key functions: Proclamation and Presence.
First proclamation. This word pretty clearly is defined by “preaching” and teaching. But I want to suggest that it is vitally important what we preach and anything less than the gospel of Jesus is in fact not proclamation and instead entertainment, condemnation or simply empty rhetoric. Those we are called to shepard are in need of the proclaimed truth of who Jesus is and what that means for our lives. The world around them declares plenty of platitudes and tells plenty of silly jokes. Pastor, you are called to proclaim the truth of Christ’s finished work on the cross and our life in response to and because of that. You should really have just one sermon – preached through every text of the Bible week after week.
Without proclamation our people have no rudder and no hope. Without proclamation we usually end up with a bunch of guilt ridden overworked disciples or those that think the world is their oyster and nothing can hold them back. Neither reflect the gospel. Be about proclamation.
The second piece of the pastoral calling as I see it is presence. Be with those you pastor. There have been a couple of moments already this week that I realized the people I am leading just need me to be with them as they pursue Jesus and face the difficulties of life. This one that lots of time and availability but it is worth it. You can show them the truth of Christ being with them as you are with them. In our culture of “balance” and “clocking in” diminishes the presence piece of ministry and if you are more worried about your office hours I wonder how badly your church is in need of your presence. Being present is not clean and orderly. It might mean longer hours, it might mean emotional exhaustion, it might mean a lack of “balance” but it is what we must be about. We pursue our savior and ensure we are refreshed in Him and then we pour ourselves out for those we pastor.
With these two parts of pastoral ministry handled I think you will be in a pretty good spot. What are things we could add to the list? Should we add anything?