Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What about pastors?

It is hard to overstate the importance of the pastoral office.  In the corners of the church today that do put a lot of weight on the office of pastor or elder or priest, the emphasis is often skewed toward the power and prestige of the position rather than the sacrifice and servanthood required.

There are words that are said at every Anglican priest's ordination that offer a great corrective to our understanding of what a pastor is today.  They are thoroughly biblical.  They are time-tested, and at every ordination they come from the mouth of the bishop to the soon to be ordained men.

I post this here for two reasons: so that any church member may know, in part, what mantel their pastor bears before God, and so that any pastor who reads this may be reminded.

Here's the bishops exhortation to those who would be pastors:

You have heard, during the Church’s discernment of your vocation and in the Holy Scriptures themselves how weighty is this Office to which you are called. I now exhort you, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to be a messenger, watchman, and steward of the Lord. You are to teach, to warn, to feed and to provide for the Lord’s family; and to seek for Christ’s sheep who are in the midst of this fallen world, that they may be saved through Christ forever.

Remember how great is this treasure committed to your charge. They are the sheep of Christ for whom he shed his blood. The Church and Congregation whom you will serve is his bride, his body. If the Church, or any of her members, is hurt or hindered by your negligence, you must know both the gravity of your fault, and the grievous judgment that will result.

Therefore, consider the purpose of your ministry to the children of God. Work diligently, with your whole heart, to bring those in your care into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of God, and to maturity in Christ, that there be among you neither error in religion nor immorality in life. Finally, equip and lead your congregation to proclaim tirelessly the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Seeing then that the demands of this holy Office are so great, lay aside all worldly distractions and take care to direct all that you do to this purpose: read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Scriptures, that you may show yourself both dutiful and thankful to the Lord; and frame your conduct, that of your household, and those committed to your care according to the doctrine and discipline of Christ. Know, however, that you cannot accomplish this of yourself; for the will and the ability needed are given by God alone. Therefore, pray earnestly for his Holy Spirit both to enlighten your mind and strengthen your resolve. 

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