"Pastor" Is A Verb Too
'Pastor' is a verb, and it will serve us well to remember that. It means to shepherd, to guard, to guide, and according to it's etymology, it also means to feed. But most importantly, the Lord says in 1 Timothy 3:1 it is work. But here's an important point, it is a work that can only be carried out effectively one way – with humility.
The work of a pastor cannot be carried out by proud men. That may seem like an obvious statement, but think about it, arrogance is antithetical to the demeanor of a Biblical pastor considering what he is called to do. It is impossible to do the work of God without the grace of God, and remember God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Jesus was not exaggerating when He said that without Him we can do nothing; so to do the work we need Christ! We will, after all, answer to Him one day for the state of His flock left in our care. We will not be rewarded for the size of our church, but for the health of the sheep and their likeness to the Great Shepherd. Fundamentally, the pastor's main purpose is not to gain a following; it is to train followers of the One he too follows.
So, what does the pastor's work look like? While not exhaustive, here is a list of four things included in a Biblical pastor's work: he leads, he heeds, he pleads, and he feeds.
A pastor leads. He is not a cattle driver, pushing the herd to the next place he wants to get them. He is a shepherd, walking, and sometimes carrying, the sheep with which he has been entrusted. Paul, moved by the Holy Ghost, tells Timothy that a pastor must be blameless, serious, of good behavior, patient, and have a good report of even those outside the church. Why? Because he is to be an example. He is to pattern for his church what following Christ looks like. He will spend more time preaching about Jesus and what it means to worship, follow, and obey Him than he will preaching on how the “man of God” should be treated, obeyed, appreciated, loved, or respected. A Biblical pastor earns the respect of his church, he does not demand it.
A pastor heeds. The word “heed” means “pay attention”. Paul charged the elders at Ephesus to take heed to the flock over which the Holy Ghost had made them overseers. It sounds simple, but it needs to be repeated to pastors again and again: pay attention to your church. Shepherds are more concerned with their sheep than they are with other shepherds, or at least they should be. Also, the church is not merely a platform for the pastor's preaching ministry; it is to be the focus of the pastor's preaching. A hireling may be only concerned about his paycheck, but a shepherd is one who lays down his life for the sheep, knowing the greater value is in the field/pews, and is concerned with and for the sheep. Diotrephes may love to have the preeminence, he may need his followers loyal to him and him alone, he may reason among his flock why he is the greatest, but a shepherd knows he is not the Great Shepherd, and that his service is only as good as the flock's likeness to Christ. It is important to note here that before a man is a pastor, he is a husband and father if the Lord has so blessed him. Pastors should heed their families too, and never let their ministry's needs supersede their family's.
A pastor pleads. He pleads with the Lord for wisdom, Biblical love, strength, discernment, patience, and the many other things he knows he will need from the only One who can provide them. He does not just pray oft repeated words, he takes the exhortations to Timothy and the church at Ephesus seriously, and earnestly prays. He pleads to the Lord on behalf of his flock, rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. He pleads alongside those in His church showing his dependence is also on the Lord. He pleads with those who are going astray, with those not yet in the fold, and he backs up his talk by how he lives towards them all.
A pastor feeds. A pastor knows that nutrition is the key for the health of the flock with which he has been entrusted, so he ensures there is a steady diet of Scripture. He knows the pulpit is not the place to just get stuff off his chest, but a place of authority. He knows the significance of the pulpit is not because he's standing behind it but because of the Book placed on top of it. He knows that his church ought to see, when he preaches, a burden on his heart and not a chip on his shoulder. He wants his church to please God, and knows that without faith that is impossible; and he knows the only place faith is given is from the hearing of the Word of God. He knows how serious the stakes are, and that the sheep need fed well, so he studies to show himself approved unto God, he's a workman in his office laboring to rightly divide the Word of Truth for the dear ones assembling soon. He prays, studies, writes, prepares, and then he preaches with the authority of an overseer placed by God Himself, yet with the compassion of a shepherd tending the Lord's sheep.
So, Pastor...pastor to the glory of God and the well-being of His church.