Image from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs collection.
An old photographic slide of shepherd life taken in or around the Holy Land between about 1900-1920. It was one of a series illustrating Psalm 23.
The Greek word for ‘pastor’ (one of the gifts in Ephesians 4.11) is the closely related noun ‘shepherd’ (in Greek, poimēn). H.B. London writes, “I propose that one of the most important aspects of being a pastor is fulfilling the role of servant-shepherd. Next to being faithful to God and attentive to spouse and family is the pastor’s responsibility as shepherd—one who knows the flock, listens to the flock, watches out for the flock, cares for the flock, corrects the flock, and spends a great portion of time with the flock.” London’s brief article, available HERE, is very helpful and well worth reading.
But, as a postscript to London’s article, the pastoral ministry in a local church must extend beyond the one who holds the position of ‘pastor’. All elders of local churches should have a pastoral heart. Elders are to shepherd (the Greek verb poimainō) God’s flock (Acts 20.28, 1 Peter 5.1-2). And there may well be others in a local church besides the elders who have the Ephesians 4 gift of being a pastor.
And there is surely also a sense in which every member of a local church is to participate in this pastoral ministry at least to some degree. For example, we’re to teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3.16), encourage and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5.11), bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6.2); and love one another (for example, Romans 13.8, 1 Peter 1.22, 1 John 4.7).
CREDITS ► Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture citations (other than those used in text that other authors have written) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, published by HarperCollins Publishers. © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.