A Biblical Theology of the Pastoral Role.
As a college student, I find that the one question asked of me most frequently is, "What is your major?" At first I thought it was quite normal to respond that I was pursuing a pastoral major at Moody Bible Institute. But after going through this routine a hundred times, I have come to the conclusion that no one has any idea what I am talking about when I use the word "pastor". The responses are extremely varied. "You mean you"re gonna be a priest?" or, "There's a school for that sort of thing?" or, "You"re already a pastor, we"re all pastors in the Lord" and even, "Your father must have been a minister, right?" Clearly, this world has become very confused about the role and nature of the pastor.
The previous conversations were mostly with unbelievers, and I think we can cut them some slack on their ignorance of the church. It would be my hope that when we turn our attention to the church, we would find a better understanding of who the pastor is to be. But as many know, this is far from the truth. It seems that every church I walk into has a radically different definition of the word pastor. At first I was tempted to shrug this off as a matter of personality differences. But I find that many church leaders are following the examples of other prominent Bible teachers, going out of their way to "overcome" their own personalities in order to emulate what they view as a "good pastor".
Any book about pastoral ministry today will report the current trend toward pragmatism in ministry: If it seems to work, then it must be the right way to do things. Every Christian today has opportunities to view and experience ministry from the most thriving churches in the country through radio, television, videos, and magazines. Great pressure comes upon our church leaders through this. People from their congregations learn about the "successful" ministries happening in such-and-such a church, and they want their own pastor to imitate these.