The Pastor’s Personal Walk (pt 2)July 14, 2009
John Tindall asks a good question: Who pastor’s the pastors? Here are some arising thoughts:
1. The Lord.
Strangely absent from some discussions of the pastor’s pastoral care is the very wellspring of the reservoir of grace: the Lord Himself! However as much (if not more) than his flock, the pastor must be able to say “the Lord is my shepherd.” The pastor is an undershepherd. Yet it he will be a good one, he himself must know the tender help of the Good Shepherd. One hesitates to say that every trial and temptation can be resolved simply by ‘taking it to the Lord in prayer’ – if that were the case, the church may never have been birthed to provide pastoral support, and eldership never established. Speaking personally, though, I have found that there can be no substitute for simply pausing to hear God’s voice afresh (through his Word) and then casting up my needs to His attentive ears (through prayer). The Psalms in particular must be a stream in which the pastor regularly bathes.
2. His fellow elders.
Moving from the most direct source of our care, we move to the next most obvious: the pastor’s fellow elders. One of the marks of an authentic and accountable eldership will be the way that elders speak openly about their own spiritual lives, and ask questions about the Christian walk of other elders. A growing and good practice in elders meetings is to spend some time sharing and praying about the personal challenges that each elder is facing, within the safe bounds of confidentiality. The vulnerable pastor, who is open about his own struggles and temptations, is able to enjoy the great blessing of other elders praying for him. They will soon be aware (if they are not already) that the pastor has pastoral needs too!