The title “Pastor” produces in me an almost constant tension. The tension between what the person calling me “pastor” means and what I understand pastoring to be. This mini-series scratches the surface of the good, the bad and the ugly parts of being called “pastor.”
“Pastor” is a beautifully relational word when taken in its own right. Like its near synonym “Shepherd” it indicates comfort, care and protection. It is a title of both authority and endearment, much like “grandfather.” It speaks of respect and love, a tendency to heal and reconcile rather than to drive apart. The title “pastor” indicates that the individual is intimately involved in the lives of their people, frequently walking in and amongst the congregation. “Pastor” frequently creates nostalgic feelings of a world gone by.
At its best, “pastor” expresses a feeling more than a function. The all encompassing word “pastor” seems to mean: someone I will follow because I know that they sincerely care about my well-being and who never uses their authority as a cudgel to berate people into obedience but uses wisdom and the bonds of loving relationship to guide people down the path they should go.
In the best possible way, pastors are those who model what should be, as opposed to what is. People crave an encounter with God and often look to their pastor as the one who can facilitate that event. In fact, this is my favorite part of being a pastor, being one who can lead others into an encounter with God, linger with them for awhile in His Presence and then quietly withdraw, leaving them with the One who loves them most and leads them best.