For much of the church world the term pastor has been used as the title of the leader. In many cases this is correct but the reality is that it is likely to have limited the organisation and the people in it unless the pastor has been exposed to the Apostolic.
We definitely need pastors, don’t get me wrong, but if the pastor determines the culture based on their gift alone there will almost certainly be huge elements missing. As with all of the five gifts listed in Ephesians the pastor needs the apostolic and the apostolic needs the pastoral. Neither should be limited by their own gift and of course all 5 gift holders need each other and each one of them contributes uniquely to the culture and the assignment of the body of Christ.
Apostolic, as I have said previously, is a mind set derived from coming under the influence of an Apostle and as I have also said Jesus is the first Apostle but as we also see with Jesus he is also the Chief Shepherd.
One of the realities is that it is possible and often tempting to pastor without accessing the unseen or supernatural. Tempting because at times it can seem easier and avoids risk. Avoiding the supernatural in pastoring can be influenced by a fear of raising false hope, but I would suggest that the real problem is not in ‘false’ hope but in stopping hoping.
The pastor in an apostolic culture will need to learn to steward the divine tension of pulling heaven to earth and yet at the same time living in the reality of not always seeing the answer they have believed or prayed for.
The pastor will have a high degree of sensitivity for people; cares, feels pain, a fixer and often less of a risk-taker.
One of the passages in the bible which I particularly love concerning the pastor is Ezekiel 34: 1-4
The phrase which stands out is that here even in the Old Testament, the shepherd is rebuked for not healing. That sounds supernatural to me. We often I suspect have heard the phrase false prophet, but it seems from Ezekiel that a ‘false’ pastor will amongst other things be one that fails to heal. That removes the option of caring or pastoring in the absence of the supernatural.
The Apostolic pastor will need to embrace:
- Pastoring while people wait (keeping hope alive)
- Pastoring while they receive (walking by faith)
- Pastoring until fully well (celebrating what God is doing)
- Pastoring in plenty & lack (maintaining a culture of abundance)
- Pastoring after breakthrough and disappointment (living un-offended)
If the pastor is the Senior Leader, they like all of us needs to have the influence of an Apostle in their life. After all Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, the Apostolic shepherd.