Three Ways YOU Can Be a Pastor
By: Victor Pena
If there was one responsibility or job that I always watched with amazement as I grew up here at Shepherd Church, it was that of a pastor. Anyone with that title, whether our own Shepherd pastors or a guest pastor coming to share from the pulpit, left me amazed and humbled at the thought of one day becoming a pastor. I had realized and felt the calling to full-time vocational ministry in summer of 2009 as 10 friends and I served on a missions trip in north Haiti. Since then, I’ve traveled to serve and learn all that I could, but one thing I couldn’t quite seem to figure out was the responsibility of a pastor. I’d find myself asking, “What does a pastor do?” or “How come this pastor does this and that one does that?” No matter how many classes on theology or ancient languages and maps I took, or books of the Bible I read, I still did not understand what a pastor did exactly.
In the midst of all this, I found myself working at a summer camp in Rocksprings, Texas from May to August of 2011. At times, the high school or middle school students I was serving would drive me up the wall with “Are we there yet?” or “It’s so hot!” Nonetheless, I would end up talking with them and hearing their stories of both their victories and defeat. Through that, I found that our conversations were a matter of care, encouragement, and support. Since then, I’ve taken those lessons of care, support, encouragement and weaved them into a foundation of my own definition of what it means to be a pastor. And you know what? I think those three words and their meanings can serve as a foundation for you as you serve as a minister or a pastor in your own home, neighborhood, and circles of influence.
I believe a pastor is a care taker, a guide, and an aide in good and bad times. Whether we proclaim God’s Word from behind a pulpit, in a counseling session, or on a walk with a friend, it is our job to be a care taker and to walk alongside those who are grieving, celebrating, and trying to be more like Christ.
Earlier I mentioned that I would be amazed by the responsibility of a pastor. I’d stand in so much amazement that I’d do just that—stand there. It wasn’t until a few years later that I went from standing to action. I want to encourage you today that if you, too, have a pastor’s heart, you can take steps forward to becoming someone who walks with those who are grieving, celebrating, and trying to be more like Christ. Let me say this: It is totally up to you to exercise the gift of care, support, and encouragement.
Below are three ways that you can be a care taker, a pastor, and an aide to those in your life!
1. Listen. Listen to the stories of your friends and family. Listen, don’t speak. But if you are moved to speak, ask for permission to share counsel or a passage of Scripture that comes to mind. If you are to speak, speak words of encouragement and not words that demean.
2. Be a presence. Sometimes, you may not need to speak. All you need to do is listen and sit in the presence of someone who may be hurting or contemplating a big life decision. Your presence may be what they need to get through the next 10 minutes, one hour, or one day. You can simply care for someone by being there for them.
3. Practice honesty. Your honesty may be the biggest form of support that someone needs. Speaking the truth in love and being transparent could take others to new heights of growth, or cause humble moments of contemplation that lead to big steps of faith.
Don’t be intimidated by the title or responsibility of a pastor. Simply take care of those around you and love on them. Whatever you do, do it with a heart of love. When you care for, encourage, and support others in a loving, biblical manner, you lead them a few inches closer to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. And I’ve learned that that’s really what being a pastor is all about.
Victor Pena is a pastor here at Shepherd Church on our Life Groups team.