One day, a friend came to me and asked whether the modern way of pastoral administration is not doing pastoral care ministry.
My friend shared that their family grew up in a church where pastoral ministry is a must but observed that it’s not the case in the local church she’s attending.
I replied that if you refer to the Biblical pastoral ministry, I don’t think you can say that doing pastoral care is traditional and not doing pastoral care is modern.
I cited two reasons the pastoral care ministry is given and not optional for a pastor.
1. The meaning of “pastor” is “shepherd”
Retrieved: 23 May 2019
2. Psalm 23 as basis of pastoral care ministry
The Lord is my shepherd;Psalm 23 NKJV
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Referring to Psalm 23, I told our friend, if you’re a pastor, how can you lead your “sheep” to green pastures, beside the still waters, soul restoration, paths of righteousness, and so on if you’re not there with them?
Why “Sunday only pastoral care in the church” doesn’t work and not Biblical
My friend said that the modern way might be doing pastoral care in the church every Sunday.
“Well, it might be, or the Sunday could be a day for pastoral care,” I said. Then I added that still, it’s not the ‘modern way’, and actually, it doesn’t work that way.
Remember the parable of the lost sheep? Didn’t the shepherd left the 99 to search for the one sheep that was lost?
And when the shepherd found the lost one he carried it on his shoulders, rejoicing (Luke 15:3-7).
Yes, he went away to search and when he found the sheep, he carried the lost one on his shoulders.
He didn’t say, “see you at the pen” after finding the lost sheep and then left to go back to the 99.
He picked up the lost sheep and carried it on his shoulders. Not only that, he called on to his friends and neighbours to celebrate the find.
And how can the pastor and the church community call on their friends and neighbours to rejoice when the principal shepherd has neglected to search, find, and minister to the lost ones?
The Good Shepherd’s ultimate calling
Towards the end of our conversation, I shared the really Good Shepherd’s ultimate calling in John 10:11.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
So, if one is not ready to commit to being a good shepherd, don’t force oneself to be so as not to neglect and let the flock suffer.