As my last pastoral devotion with BBPC, I thought I'd leave the BBPC family with parting words on pastoring. It has been a blessing to journey with the BBPC family these past 6 years. Not only did I have the privilege to journey with many through life's ups and downs, I have learned much from and been shaped in my pastoral ministry by the BBPC kampung.
Pastors and church leaders come and go, and no pastor/leader is indispensable. As I reflect on the past 6 years with BBPC, I realised that pastoring is not only the role of pastors, but is the role of every believer in the church community. Having a pastoral posture is foundational for a healthy church. Undergirding agape love is a pastoral heart, a shepherd's heart like our great Shepherd.
To have a pastoral posture is to be people-oriented. And that can be manifested in several facets. Firstly, a pastoral posture is prayerful. There is no greater support for a fellow believer than to be sincerely praying for them. When we sincerely care for our fellow brother or sister, we surely would be praying for them. We also keep matters of the church in prayer, and it is important to uphold our church leaders in prayer also.
Secondly, a pastoral posture is protective. It is one that would look out for another, to keep them from hurt, harm, or danger, just like a shepherd does towards sheep. In the wild, animals tend to group together for safety and protection. Predators try to break up groups, so they can then isolate the weaker ones and go after their prey. Satan often operates in this way to break up the church, so worshippers ought to have their spiritual guards up in looking out for one another. Being protective sometimes also means speaking the truth in love to a fellow believer, for their well-being, for their growth. It requires a sensitive pastoral approach.
Thirdly, a pastoral posture seeks to make peace where possible within the body of Christ. In a community of sinful people, there will be conflicts and tensions within. It really requires the work of the Spirit to humble us to work towards peace and reconciliation, recognising that God first reconciled with us through the work of His Son on the cross, and that we're fellow children of His adopted family on the same pilgramage.
Last but not least, a pastoral heart ultimately points others to the Perfector of our faith. This is what sets believers apart from non-believers, in that we encourage one another by pointing each other to Christ. We ought to extend this to our witnessing life, a natural extension of living out our faith. May we find common ground with non-believers around us, share where our Christian worldview intersects, and point them to our human condition in need of a loving Shepherd.
Dear BBPC, by manifesting a pastoral heart, we not only set a foundation for a healthy church, it sets the tone for a thriving church, where we extend Christ's love to the lost in our spheres of influence. Those looking in the pastoral community see Christ's love exhibited within the BBPC family, being extended out.
The familiar saying goes, "They don't care how much we know, until they know how much we care." This is so true when we aspire to share the Gospel with others. Our actions do often speak louder than our words, so our pastoral posture showing genuine love to those we reach out to can soften their spiritual hearts, allowing the Spirit to work, opening their ears to what we want to share.
I have seen these pastoral qualities extended within the BBPC family and personally towards me, not to mention to the communities/spheres around us. Jiayou in the Lord BBPC, may He find us faithful and pastoral in bringing Him glory!
In His grace,
Pastoral posture (people-oriented):
4. Points people to the Perfector of our faith
-> Prospering church