Pastors and the sheep pen
John 10 v 7-10
“Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The picture of the sheep pen firmly etched in their mind, Jesus now introduces himself as the gate (or the door) of that pen. During the night the shepherd would lay down in front of the pen to act as that gate preventing sheep escaping and predators entering.
That is the shepherd’s role. The gate.
Jesus said others have come and not fulfilled that role and they are nothing but thieves etc.
All is well so long as the shepherd is laid down in front of the pen.
“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter” (Zech 13 v7)
The enemy who wants to devour the sheep only has to do one thing, remove the shepherd.
Thom Rainer gives his top 8 reasons why Pastors quit:
- Discouragement and frustration over critics in the Church.
- Discouragement and frustration over the direction of the Church.
- Moral failure.
- Forced termination other than moral failure.
- Financial struggles.
- Family issues.
- Departure of Joy.
There is so much talk about members leaving the Church each week. Yet shepherds make a decision to leave every day. Perhaps they don’t physically hand in their notice to quit. But they do stop laying down in front of the gate. They become weary because of one of the 8 reasons above. They leave their post. The enemy wins because the Church then becomes weakened and the sheep pen is open to attack. It is a plan of the enemy and it is happening too often.
One of my Pastors confessed that they had stopped visiting a seasoned member because he couldn’t take anymore the negative criticism of his preaching and his leadership every time he went to see the member. A pastoral visit isn’t always a lovely experience for the pastor. Sometimes it is like going to see the headmaster.
I am noticing a reduction of pastoral visits taking place. I wonder why? Are the Pastors lazy? Are they consumed with offices and management of buildings? Are they hurting? Have they left already in their hearts?
To stop it happening we need to talk about it.