If you are a pastor of a church, or if you feel God is leading you into ministry, please read Ezekiel chapter 34 today and know that God is talking to you. He takes the shepherding of his flock very seriously, and so should you.
Years ago I knew a man hired to pastor a church who very matter-of-factly told his Board that he felt called to preach, not visit sick people, not to pound on doors, not to be involved in children’s ministry. None of that was in his wheelhouse, so they needed to hire an assistant pastor to do those things so he could devote his time to study. He told them he read about a dozen books a week and didn’t have time for boots on the ground.
Now, I would say (or at least hope to say) that this man is an extreme example. But God, through Ezekiel, has something important to say to any pastor who doesn’t shepherd. Again, I would highly suggest you read chapter 34 if you are a pastor, or if you go to a church with a pastor.
Sadly, there are pastors who love to hear the sound of their own voices, who have left their sheep unprotected against the enemy. The people under their care have become “prey and food for every wild animal.”
I know that the New Testament Church appointed deacons to care for the physical needs of the people so that Paul and the other Apostles could devote themselves to the preaching. But Paul wasn’t a pastor, was he? He was an evangelist. And even in that, if you read his letters to the churches, you see how much he cared for and protected those congregations, too. When he was with a church for any length of time, he didn’t just sit around preparing his sermon for Sunday. He worked with them, beside them, supported them, spent time with them, made friends of them.
Let me suggest that if you feel called to ministry, but say, “Children’s ministry isn’t my thing,” or “I’m not comfortable around old people,” or “I hate hospitals,” or “I’m too shy to entertain people in my home or to visit them in their’s,” maybe you are called to be a public speaker. But you are NOT called to be a pastor. Get out now.
Allow your congregation the right to have a real shepherd who will protect them and care for them. A shepherd doesn’t throw out a handful of food at his flock once a week and think he’s done a good job. A pastor shouldn’t do that, either.
Get out now for your own sake because you will be held to a high standard of care over your flock. Will you one day look into the eyes of Jesus and say, “Well, Jesus, you know I never really did like children?” Good luck with that.
If you are a pastor – be a shepherd. That congregation is your responsibility from the nursery to the grey haired ladies’ Sunday School class. If you recognize weaknesses in yourself, ask God for strength. If He has called you to care for His flock, He will answer that prayer. But don’t simply pass that responsibility off to someone else and think that will cover you. Don’t feed yourself rather than God’s flock.
Are you called to be a pastor? Then you are called to be a shepherd.