As Moses took on the responsibility of helping the children of Israel through the wilderness, the 40 years he spent herding sheep and living under austere conditions, unlike his first 40 years, enabled him. Was this a great leadership training program? Actually it was life and opportunities to believe God for his own life. He wasn’t around any Israelites anymore. It was him and God. Because he listened, as exemplified by the burning bush event in his life, he learned what God wanted him to learn. His future involved motivating God’s people, challenging and defeating the enemy, and practically moving 2 million people up and out of bondage, despite their shortcomings and lack of believing. How do you teach someone that? God worked with Moses.
We live in a newer situation and relationship than Moses did. Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd is now our Lord, appointed by God. If you want to understand what this means read John chapters 13-17. The gospel of John has 5 chapters about the things Jesus said to his disciples to prepare them for life after the resurrection.
The word ‘shepherd’/’pastor’ is used 18 times in the New Testament. Most of the uses (15 uses) are in the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. ‘Pastor’ is used once in the church epistles (Romans-Thessalonians), once in Hebrews and once in Peter.
Jesus Christ had some amazing qualities. He was the great shepherd:
20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Hebrews 13:20
I Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
He was also called an apostle and prophet. There’s no doubt he was an evangelist and teacher. When you think about these labels on a person, they convey the multiple ways of helping and serving others. In operation, it is the ‘hand of God’ and just like our physical hands there are 5 fingers each of which is unique. Each believer has the potential to operate the gift of holy spirit and serve others in these categories also. In Ephesians 4:10-12 Paul writes about the Messiah:
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
An apostle will get something started , but he doesn’t run the whole show. Once something is started a prophet will continue to keep heart of the Word in the forefront. A teacher will teach in detail and an evangelist will spread the good news to others. A pastor will guard and protect. I’m not sure where the microphone, podiums and pews got started (Can we blame this on Nicea also?).
The workings of the ministry call for under-rowers not overlords. There is no need to carry a neon sign. As believers mature in their relationship with God and His word, the capacity to serve increases. The service glorifies God and fruitful lives weave in and throughout life knitting for the Master, sometimes recognized, often not.
Almost every building on the corner with stained glass windows has a person with an official title of ‘Pastor’. Do you think there might be others with similar spiritual DNA sitting in the pews? The Corinthian church had several prophets as Paul suggested in I Corinthians 14. He exhorted them to not all speak at once. Back during the time of Exodus, Moses actually told a young man that it would be really great if they were all prophets (Numbers 11:29). A prophet speaks what’s on God’s heart. In order to do that well, the prophet needs to be listening to God’s heartbeat.
The spirit of God in Christ in us is unique to every individual. Each of us offers something that someone else needs. That is how the whole church (not by bricks and mortar) fits together. It was designed this way. It is our job to grow into genuine service by feeding on the Word of God. God directs our steps and gives us all the enablements to carry the works of His hand.