My Theology of Pastoral Ministry (part 1)

December 11, 2011 — 2 Comments

Today is part 1 of a series of six blog posts where I am sharing my Theology of Pastoral Ministry. By sharing this theology of pastoral ministry I hope to encourage you to develop your own theology of pastoral ministry (or philisophy of work).

Clipart of a Pastor. Photo courtesy Microsoft Word.
My personal theology of pastoral ministry directs and orients my life to be a leading servant who spreads God’s love around the world.

It is something that I have thought through, lived out, and participated in for three years now based on my study of scripture, input from mentors, and books that I have read. In this paper I will explain how my theology of pastoral ministry is lived out in my life as a pastor, who God is, ministry, humanity, and the church.

An important element of being a leading servant who spreads God’s love around the world is to live out my role as a pastor.

When thinking through what it means to be a pastor the word “shepherd” comes to mind as a great biblical example of the role of serving as a pastor within any context. The definition of a shepherd is “one who took complete care of a flock or sheep.”[1] The Greek word for shepherd is “poimen” which means “taking care of sheep. They [the various forms of the word poimen] figuratively refer to someone who is in a leadership position, such as over a community or nation; a shepherd has authority, provides protection, and cares for the flock.”[2]

Being a leading servant who spreads God’s love around the world means that I seek to pastor and shepherd people by looking over them and taking care of their spiritual health. A Bible verse that demonstrates this well is Mark 6:34 where we read about Jesus and His disciples attempting to get some quiet time alone to rest. As they were in a boat traveling, some people saw Jesus and His disciples leaving, so they ran ahead of the boat (via shoreline). In the Gospel of Mark we read, “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”[3]

This is similar to me in my own ministry. A part of me feels called to minister to people through writing about biblical truths to help direct them in their own leadership work and life. The Apostle Paul’s letter to Peter further explains how I see my role as a pastor within my theology of pastoral ministry when he writes, “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly. . . .”[4] This says to me that God has entrusted people to me, and I need to do my very best to guide them along, protect them, and serve them through my spoken and written words.

At this time, God has entrusted me be an unofficial pastor at United Way of Stanislaus County where I can help “shepherd” and watch over the spiritual health of the people there. However, while working at United Way of Stanislaus County I have not always thought of myself as a pastor, I have just tried to share my faith and do the “right thing” when interacting with coworkers. It has not been until thinking about my theology of pastoral ministry that I realized I have been serving as an unofficial pastor at work. I give Bibles to people I know might need one, and I respect the opinions of people who are agnostic and believe Jesus is a “mythical guy that people believe in.”[5]

Recently a woman at work mentioned to me that she and her boyfriend were reading the Bible together out of the King James Version (KJV). For Christmas I purchased a New Living Translation Bible for them to read together which is more understandable than the KJV. Since then she has told me on several occasions that they have enjoyed reading their new Bible together.

Additionally, outside of work I feel that I serve as a pastor when I regularly write and create content which reaches almost 5,000 people on the internet. To be a leading servant means I serve as a shepherding pastor who looks after the spiritual health of my coworkers at United Way of Stanislaus County and those I share my faith through my writing.

However, my view of pastoral ministry is affected by my view of who God is, which is what I will explain in tomorrow's post.

Question: Do you have a theology of pastoral ministry or a philisophy of work? What is it?


[1] Philip W. Comfort, Ph.D. and Walter A. Elwell, Tyndale Bible Dictionary: A comprehensive guide to the people, places, and important words of the Bible (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 1192.

[2] James A. Swanson and Keith Williams, “Dictionary and Index for Hebrew and Greek Word Studies.” in New Living Translation Study Bible (,Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008), 2225.

[3] Mark 6:34 (New Living Translation)

[4] 1 Peter 5:2

[5] Estrella Garcia, interview by author, Modesto, CA, June 10, 2011.

 

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I also may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

  • Thanks for the phrase “leading servant.” i may have missed it in another post, but love to hear how/why that phrase as opposed to the usual “servant leader”

  • Thanks for reading Dave.
    I say, “leading servant” because I want to be a leader who leads by serving. Even though I might be the project leader on something, I want to serve others and support them to make us successful. So, I like to think of myself as a leading servant. A servant who is leading.
    Just my thoughts. 🙂