The word “pastor” relates closely in the Bible to the work of shepherding God’s people. It applies most to those we call ministers, clergy, or elders. In context as shepherds, pastors need to be courageous as well as compassionate, and tough as well as tender. But the word “pastoral” has lost its courageous and tough meaning through centuries of misuse in the Church, and become a term which refers, it seems, only to visiting the sick and responding to needs.
Pastoring is too strong a Bible word for us to lose it, and it’s my hope that we can redeem “pastoring” as authoritative leadership along with attentive love, and so see pastors encouraged and released.
Hence “the redeemed pastor”.
As Vicar of Christ Church Cockfosters (North London) and an assistant Director of Ordinands in London Diocese, I am a pastor of Christ’s people in the Anglican church. I write about theology – whether Biblical, historical, philosophical or pastoral (including “leadership”) – and how it speaks to faith and culture. Some of these articles also appear on the website of the church I lead, Christ Church Cockfosters.
The apostle Paul (Ephesians 4:12) describes the role of pastor-teachers as “equipping” God’s people. As a redeemed pastor I therefore want to preach better and to lead more wisely, so that God’s people are built up in faith and love and equipped to honour Christ in the world.
You can also follow me on twitter @richardjamesccc