by Steve Spurlin

– My children and I started taking classes in a form of martial arts geared toward mixed martial arts some time ago.  We have a great time doing it and it is good exercise.  We also have developed a great love and report with the people at United Martial Arts in Lubbock, TX.  Coach Ian Lee, Cory Johnson, and DJ Clark and all the others at the gym have become important people in our lives and we love them very much.  It is from them that I got the new name.  Shortly after we started at UMA coach Lee and the others at the gym began calling me pastor.  Now, every time I see them that’s what they call me.

I like the fact that they call me pastor.  I haven’t always felt comfortable with the label, but between the guys at the gym and the members of Cornerstone Bible Church I have come to accept that I am a pastor, not just in title, but in my heart of hearts.  I love my people, both at CBC and UMA.  I also have found that God has so formed, or reformed my heart that I have a pressing need to care for His sheep.

The Greek word from which we get the term pastor is poimen and means a shepherd.  It is the word that refers to a herder of sheep.  That is a very important role for those who own sheep.  The shepherd is the one who leads the sheep to pasture and to water; the one who cares for them when they are sick or injured, and protects them from the wild animals seeking to destroy them.

Within the Church we are called pastor, but in reality, we are shepherds.  We seek to lead the sheep, make sure they are well fed, and try to protect them from the “roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8) and his wolves who “come in among (the Body), not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).  IT IS A VERY SERIOUS TASK.  Unfortunately, too many in the position of pastor/shepherd aren’t taking this assignment seriously enough.

In Ephesians 4:12 Paul states why the positions of pastor/shepherd was given as a gift to His Bride: “for the equipping of the saints (feeding and caring for them) for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (healthy sheep making and serving other sheep).”  The main goal is for the Body, both corporately and individual members, to grow to maturity in Christ (v. 13).  The pastor/shepherd plays an important role in helping the sheep reach the point that we “are no longer…children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (v. 14).  It is also imperative that we understand that the same care must be given to all the sheep, even the hard-headed ones who make more sheep dung than the others.  For those pastors whose operating procedures include getting rid of sheep who don’t always fall in line or question the tactics of their shepherd, or are feeding the sheep from sermonettes for christianettes, I recommend that you take a step back and heed the example of how God dealt with the unfaithful priests of Israel (Malachi) and His warnings against many becoming teachers (James 3:1).

Shepherding is not always pleasant, not always easy, not always appreciated by the sheep, but God has a reward for the faithful pastor/shepherd.  I take my job/ministry very seriously.  I pray that all pastors would examine themselves and see how they measure up to God’s design and plan for the pastor/shepherd.  I’m not a perfect pastor by any stretch of the imagination, but the Lord continually works in me to constantly evaluate my own heart and how I measure up to His ideal.  The picture is often not pretty, but He is gracious and merciful.

So, pastor/shepherd, I pray that God blesses your ministry.  I also pray that your sheep will heed the message of Hebrews 13:17; “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your soul as those who will give an account.  Let them (pastor/shepherds) do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you (the sheep).”

I pray that this helps


Adapted from They Call Me Pastor

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