The Work of the Pastor by William Still- Part 1

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Puritan Board Junior
From KERUGMA, my blog.

Trim: Pocket paperback
Isbn: 0946068631
UPC: WP8631
List Price: £4.99
Imprint: Christian Focus

William Still’s book, The Work of the Pastor, is a rare glimpse into the life experience of a pastor/ teacher who poured his life’s work into the lives of those under his care. He did honour to the name of that Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who has commanded all ministers of the gospel to “feed my sheep”. William Still’s book should be Monday morning reading for every new pastor who is looking for ways to improve his office, and make himself a more fruitful minister of Christ.

Feed My Sheep

Still begins his work by reminding the reader that in everything required of a minister, his first job is to be a shepherd. The view in mind here is for the pastor is to discharge all the duties of a shepherd by feeding, governing, and nurturing the flock in the spirit of our Lord, who “giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11) (Still, p.2).

Feeding the sheep, according to Still, has a tandem effect in encouraging the flock on the one hand, and evangelizing the goats on the other (4 ). In proclaiming the whole counsel of God, he must be doing the work of an evangelist, not only in teaching, but in preaching as well. A full orbed ministry will take into account each kind of sheep (from young to old) and will not only be able to impart truth to the sheep and lambs, but point any goat to the Great Shepherd. Still insists that we must not simply focus on the milk of the word, “What will the hungry sheep do until then” (7)? Likewise, we must not always give large portions of meat, but a buffet of truth for every soul, making sure that there is something for everyone.

Feeding the sheep also means bringing the sheep to green pastures, which is the Word of God (8-11). This means that the shepherd must know where the good grass grows and have tasted it himself. Still says in this regard the contemporary minister that “the ignorance is colossal”, meaning not many know the Word of God, nor how to impart the truth of the Word to the needy soul. This can only be done by the true Teacher, the Holy Spirit (11). S good shepherd must know where the greenest grass grows.

To discharge the duties with a godly and conscientious spirit, Still notes that you must first be called to the ministry, inwardly a well as outwardly. According to Still there are too many hirelings and pseudo-shepherds already. Next, Still insists that the work of the minister is not an occupation as much as a calling; looking for the heart of prayer, a deep commitment in the face of adversity, a love for the flock of Christ, and seeking early fruits (a stirred congregation). Most of all there must be a true desire to serve. “Conflict! Cost! Crucifixion!” will soon dispel the romantic notions of a man not willing to become a foot-washing leader (24-25).

The Pastor Outside the Pulpit

The duty of the pastor outside the pulpit is as important as the duty in the pulpit. Effective use of time and talents away from the pulpit will invariably effect the preaching of the Word itself in the pulpit. This means there must be a sifting and balancing of the most important things with the things that will only gobble up time. Problem people, who Still says attach themselves to a representative of Christ rather than Christ himself, can drain away countless hours from those who truly and really so wish to be edified and brought closer to the Saviour (29). There must be a discernment on the part of the pastor to know who is willing to grow, and who wishes to be carried. Still insists, “The whole world wants Christian fruits, but not Christian roots- cut flowers only! (32)

Knowing our limit is another important feature to this remarkable little book. Still reminds the reader that he will never be able to fix everyone’s problems, at every point, in all circumstances. While in theory all would readily admit this, in practice many pastors, “want to sort out everybody” (32). This is not possible. The pastor is to know what he is capable of and gage his activity in light of his chief end…feeding the sheep. Some are more gifted to help the psychologically needy, but most are not. The pastor must know that there are others better equipped to handle problems that he cannot (34).

Sheep need a sense of community, and a good shepherd knows how to make sheep live together in harmony (40). This is done by providing a warm environment in which sheep can be a flock, interact, and grow together. When the sheep are content with one another they do not require “petting and pampering” says Still (41). Furthermore, visiting the flock should be a desire of the minister but always with a balanced view of the pastorate in mind. The pastor is not to try to do too much, or too little, when visiting but realize that in visiting a home, we are representing our Lord, not ourselves. Still reminds us that when the pastor enters the home “God enters it” at least or should be entering it (42).

To be Continued...:lloyd-jones: :rutherford:
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