The Conduct of a Pastor

…shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:2, 3

The Book of Pastoral Rule [1] Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604)

“The conduct of a prelate ought so far to transcend the conduct of the people as the life of a shepherd is wont to exalt him above the flock. For one who estimation is such that the people are called his flock is bound anxiously to consider what great necessity is laid upon him to maintain rectitude.”

Pastors have three tools to employ in the work of shepherding:

    1. The Word of God
    2. Prayer, and
    3. Their personal example (Acts 6:4; 1 Pet. 5:1-3).

The skillful pastor is he who has learned how to use these tools consistently, appropriately, and in a good combination in every situation.

Our work may be informed by other resources beyond these, and we may, indeed, employ such resources in equipping the flock of God.

But they must always be seen as an extension of our personal pastoral tools, especially that of our own example.

MUSE ON THIS QUESTION: Do the people you shepherd see enough of your life to know whether or not they want to be like you in following Jesus?

[1]All quotations are from Gregory, The Book of Pastoral Rule in Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 12