*SHEPHERDS ACCORDING TO GOD’S HEART* Jer.3:15
The word ‘*SHEPHERD*‘ (‘POIMEN’ in Greek) appears 18 times in the New Testament and 4 times in plural form (in the Gospels); the word PASTOR means ‘SHEPHERD’: Mat9:36;25:32;26:31; Mark6:34,14:27; Luke2:8,15,18,20; Jn10:2,11,12,14,16; Eph4:11; Heb13:20; 1Pet2:25
The word ‘*ELDER*‘ (‘PRESBUTEROS’ in Greek) appears 9 times in singular form and 60 times in plural form in the New Testament. It means ‘a senior’, someone mature or older in age but especially in faith; a member of the Jewish council; examples of verses: Mark14:53; Acts15:6;20:17;21:18, 1Tim5:1,17,19, Tit.1:5, Heb11:2, James5:14, 1Pet5:1,5, 2Jn1:1, 3Jn1:1, Rev4:4,10.
The word ‘*BISHOP*‘ (‘EPISKOPOS’ in Greek, it means over-seer) appears 6 times in singular form and 1 time in plural form in the New Testament: Acts20:28, Phil1:1,1Tim.3:1,2, Tit1:7, 3:15, 1Pet2:25 Jesus is called the Shepherd (Pastor) and Bishop of our souls.
These 3 words are used interchangeably by Paul and Peter, they are synonymous, see above verses, speaking of the same person with the office of a pastor. Peter as an apostle called himself a ‘presbuteros’, 1Pet.5:1
We will define here some aspects of the office and work of a shepherd (pastor):
1. He must be *BORN AGAIN* Jn1:12, Eph1:5, Rom8:15;
2. He is an *UNDER-SHEPHERD*, called by Jesus to be a shepherd 1Cor1:1, not self appointed Rev2:20 nor appointed by men Gal1:1.
–A self-proclaimed pastor might have some fruit and foul many, but they cant foul Jesus, see Mat7:22, ‘we have prophesied (preached) in your name, we cast out demons and did miracles…’ Jesus will answer: ‘I have never known you (‘epiginosko’ in Greek means to know in a personal relationship, he was not even born again). Jesus would not appoint as a pastor someone who is not born again.
–An under-shepherd receives instructions from the Great Shepherd 1Pet5:4
3. A good shepherd *FEEDS the sheep the WORD OF GOD*. He does not feed the sheep culture, empty religion and rituals, external behavior, entertainment, denomination or worldly wisdom: 1Cor1:17,20;2:1; 1Tim4:13,16, 2Tim2:2; Ezra7:10, Eph4:11-15.
I was shocked to find out in Harare a pastor advising a young man engaged to a girl, asking him to pay the full huge lobola before marrying them, but he had no money (and the pastor was also charging them a fee for marrying them!) That pastor has never read 2Cor12:14
–A good shepherd does not add to the Word of God orally, in written form or in practice: Rev22:18, Deut4:2, Prov30:6
4. A shepherd’s *CALL IS CONFIRMED* by other shepherds that ordain him under the leading of the Holy Spirit 1Tim5:22, Tit1:5
5. A good shepherd must be able to say, ‘*FOLLOW ME AS I FOLLOW CHRIST*‘ 1Cor11:1; we don’t follow a shepherd that does not follow Christ, or else we enter ‘Ditch Ministries’: blind leading blind end up in a ditch Mat15:14, such leader leads the sheep astray Jer50:6
6. A good shepherd *EXALTS CHRIST* not self, not Moses (the law) or any other ‘modern prophet’: Jn3:30, Phil2:9, Rev5:8,12,13;6:16;21:9,22
7. Every shepherd must be *ACCOUNTABLE* to other shepherd(s): Eph5:21
–The shepherds that ordain him can also remove him from office if he goes sideways 1Tim5:19, they cannot remove his call and gifts but can remove him from exercising the office until he repents;
–A pastor is not ‘untouchable’, some pastors use 1Cron16:22 out of context: ‘do not touch the Lord’s anointed’, to say a pastor can do what he wants; that passage speaks of the fact that David being under Saul had no right to remove king Saul from office (or to kill him), only God could
–Saul’s spiritual covering was prophet Nathan; a pastor’s covering is the pastor that ordained him, (if the ordaining pastor died or fell from office then this pastor must choose another pastor to be his spiritual covering and let the church know he is accountable to him and also to his church elders)
–A pastor is not a king, elected for life: Luke22:25-26
–A pastor can’t leave his church as an inheritance to his son as kings do
–A pastor starting a church should elect elders; these elders should be involved in choosing a replacement pastor and it is wise to involve pastors from other congregations in this process
8. Read *MORE QUALIFICATIONS OF A SHEPHERD*: 1Tim3:2-7: He must be able to teach, blameless (not perfect but walking in integrity), if married, then married to only one woman (but can be single as Paul: 1Cor7:7-10,33; Mat19:12,29 speaks of forsaking getting married for the sake of the Gospel); sober (not given to alcohol, drugs, entertainment or anything that can endanger his mental process and self-control); of good behavior; vigilant; Spirit filled; not given to wine (literal Greek: ‘not staying near wine’ means he avoids wine completely to avoid any danger); not striker (not ready to fight physically); not a brawler (literal: not against peace); not covetous; keeping his children under subjection; not a novice; he must have a good report of his present conduct as a Christian (not a good report of his life before being a Christian: his changed life is a powerful testimony)
–Read Tit1:5-16 another list of qualifications for a pastor; also 1Tim3
9. A shepherd *GUARDS THE SHEEP*: Acts20:28; guards the sheep from wrong doctrines, warning them of false teachers as well: Phil3:2; 2Cor11:13,15; 1Tim1:3,20, 2Tim2:17,18; 3Jn9; Rev2:2,6,9,14,15,20,24
10. He recognizes the *CHURCH IS ‘THE CHURCH OF GOD*‘ Acts20:28, 1Tim3:15, not the pastor’s church. Jesus said, ‘I will build My church’ in Mat16:18, Jesus didn’t say to Peter, ‘you Peter will build My church’, neither ‘I Jesus will build your (Peter’s) church’, neither ‘you Peter will build your church’
11. He *GIVES HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP* – Jn10:15, Phil2:30, 1Thes2:8; giving his time or even life if needed (martyrdom)
–Observes when one sheep is missing – Matt18:12
–Goes after the lost sheep – Matt18:12; visits them home; he is available
–Carries the lost sheep on his shoulders – Luke15:5; does not drag/push the sheep or beat it from behind
–A good shepherd is ready to spend of his own for the sheep: 2Cor12:15
12. Is *NOT PARTIAL* James2:1-4; does not give offices in church based on income; does not avoid preaching against sins of the greatest contributors in church
13. He is a *SOWER, PLANTING THE SEED OF THE GOSPEL*: Mat13:3-9, Mat28:18-20 (Jesus said ‘go after them’, not ‘call them to your church building or stadium’ only)
–Acts17:17 Paul was talking daily with people in the market place; street evangelism. Sadly, only cults today do street evangelism
–He that wins souls is wise Prov11:30. Giving money to evangelists does not excuse anyone from evangelizing
14. He is *NOT COMPETING WITH OTHER PASTORS*: Phil1:15-19; He is aware that the harvest belongs to God: Lk10:2
15. He is *READY TO SUFFER FOR THE GOSPEL*: Phil1:29; 2Cor11:24-33; stands for the truth even if in danger to be removed from office by opposing church
16. *NOT A HIRELING* – not on pastoral office for money: 1Pet5:2; he does not charge money for his ‘services’, he does not sell anointing oil or any objects as worship objects
–Pastor can have a wage from the church: 1Tim5:17,18, around the average salary in church or slightly higher (for calls and visitation fares); Lk22:25,26 Jesus says shepherds should not be like kings that demand respect and money (taxes), but through being a servant he gains respect and draws followers of Christ
–At times Paul had refused to receive money from new believers so that they wouldn’t think Paul was after their money 2Cor7:2, 11:7-13, 12:17
–A good shepherd is honest financially before men and God: 2Cor.8:21; he does not collect the money himself but brethren in the church do the collection and counting: 2Cor8:6,18,23,24; Ezra8:25,28-33
–Paul had accepted gifts from the church in Philippi when the church was mature in faith: Phil4:10-18, to be able to start a church in Corinth, from whom he had refused to receive money: 2Cor11:8
–At times in Corinth Paul worked for his needs and the needs of those with him: Acts18:3-5 (in v5 Paul stopped working to give himself fully to preaching as Silas and Timothy had joined him and were most probably working to support Paul’s expenses and theirs) 20:33,34, 1Cor4:12, 1Thes2:9, 2Thes3:8
–He does not kill and eat the sheep, as the shepherds of Israel did: Ez34:1-31; these shepherds were killing the sheep to eat their meat, they were shepherding themselves, v8, instead of shepherding the sheep, they searched their own interest: Phil2:21; they ruled with harshness, did not look for the lost sheep
17. *LEADS GOING BEFORE THE FLOCK*: Jn10:4,5, not pushing from behind. He who pushes from behind is the butcher; David was leading his soldiers by example while Saul put fear on soldiers 1Sam11:7
18. A good shepherd *DOES NOT CLAIM EXCLUSIVITY*: Luke9:49
19. A shepherd is *NOT LOOKING FOR GLORY* but acts as a nurse that cherishes her children: 1Thes2:6,7; he is as a father: 1Thes2:11
20. A shepherd *PRAYS DAY AND NIGHT FOR THE SHEEP* under his care: 1Thes3:10,13; 2Thes1:3
21. A good shepherd is *TRAINING OTHER SHEPHERDS* (no fees!): 2Tim2:2, Mat28:20, without envy, control and competition
22. A good shepherds looks for *TRANSFORMED LIVES*, not changed behavior: Rom12:1,2
23. A good shepherd is *AN EXAMPLE* for others: Phil3:17;4:9
24. A good shepherd is *NOT A ONE-PERSON-SHOW* but involves others in the work (team work; see verses on the Body of Christ)Acts2:14; Paul always traveled with other disciples: Acts20:4 Num11:16, Ex18:25
25. A good shepherd is *NOT A DREAMER OF DREAMS AND DOES NOT INVENT PROPHECIES* but preaches the Book of Prophecies, the Bible: Deut13:1-3a, Ecc5:3,7; Col2:18; Heb1:1-2; 2Pet1:19-21
26. A good shepherds *PLEASES GOD, NOT MAN*: Gal1:10, 1Thes2:4
A good shepherd is to be loved: 1Thes5:12-13 and honored 1Tim5:17, Heb13:7,17-18, Phil2:29, 1Thes5:12.
This is not a complete list, but I believe there are some essential points in here. Also, dont expect perfection from a pastor!