“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds* and teachers,* 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Ephesians 4:11-12
This is where we find the word pastor interchangeable with shepherd. These are gifts of grace given for building up the entire body. These are not offices but gifts. Wouldn’t it be weird if someone called you their prophet or evangelist. “Let me introduce you to my prophet”, that would be strange yet we do this with “pastor”. Listen to what Jesus said in Mat.23,
“But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.* 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
I believe Jesus really meant what he said here and we should never find our identities in these giftings. It’s unhealthy for pastors and keeps people stunted in their growth because they are constantly looking to a pastor to be their functional savior.
Sometimes sadly it takes a highly respected pastor to fall morally before people begin to get this. Only Christ alone can shepherd us and we need to be pointing people to Jesus so that their giftings can be used for the kingdom. Someone with a real pastoral gifting will point people to Jesus and not themselves.
Lord help me to keep my eyes on you. Thank you for the leaders you’ve put in my life and the example the are at looking to you first. Help me to point people to you Jesus and not myself. Amen