In Search of… The Perfect Shepherd?
The 8 Key Characteristics of an Ideal Pastor That Can Sweep a Ministry or Congregation
The privilege of being able to help your brothers and sisters, to see them grow and undertake their own callings is something that is simply priceless.
That is why, when you receive this call, it is common to embark on actions that help us to achieve a better pastoral profile, without realizing that, sometimes, that profile can become a death trap for you and for the congregation.
Throughout these pages I will try to share with you some essential considerations learned, during more than 40 years of service, from good pastors who have already finished their careers and from many of my own mistakes, in the hope that you will not have to repeat them.
God bless you.
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For example, if any church council is asked what is the profile of their ideal pastor, a list like the following is likely to emerge:
- Must be well prepared, who knows how to do his job well, a good ministry professional.
- Must be focused on the needs of the congregation.
- Must have a powerful and clear vision.
- Must respect traditional biblical and ecclesiastical concepts.
- Must be a person with a great anointing.
- A pastor who seeks excellence in everything and everyone.
- That he knows how to surround himself with a good team that supports him.
- Be loyal to their fellow ministers.
The list seems perfect, and many candidates for the ministry can focus their efforts on trying to develop this profile. It is a question of supply and demand.
However, this poses several problems.
First of all, we forget that, although a pastor pastors a congregation, he actually works and serves for God. Therefore, it is essential that the profile developed by the servant of God be that which God personally demands of him or her. Because it is not about fitting the profile that a particular church has of what it needs, or thinks it needs, in a pastor, nor about adapting the curriculum to get into a certain organization, but about being prepared for God to put you in the church or ministry in which you should be, which is something very different. Remember that any service you perform as a pastor is a service to God, even if it is performed within a local church.
Thus, if you are called to clean, you do not clean to look good before the congregation, you clean for God, and your brothers and sisters benefit from that service. If you pastor, you do not do it because you owe a debt or duty to those specific people, you pastor out of love for God and in response to His call to service. The benefit of your faithful work will accrue to your brethren. Your “boss” is not the pastoral or church council, your “boss” is God himself. It is to Him that you will be accountable for your service. And God is not going to let Himself be entangled with excuses or stories.
If you forget this, leaving God out of the equation, and work only focused on the congregation, you will find yourself one day in the presence of your Lord and the only thing you will hear from Him is that “you have had your reward“.
Another big problem with this “ideal profile” is that it can easily become a deadly trap, both for the minister himself and for the congregation. In fact, it is the best trap that our adversary can set before us: to make us believe that we work for God when the truth is that he has succeeded in making us leave the narrow path.
This is because the profile becomes a human yardstick that only values the external aspects, after all, the only ones we can measure. Achieving a good score on it may lead you to believe that you have also reached an appropriate level of holiness. And, believe me, no measure of holiness achieved by a human being is sufficient for God, but we must depend on his grace and sanctification every day.