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Archive of posts tagged pastoral care

When Shepherds Play the Part of Wolves

 “When those who have the title of shepherd play the part of wolves, heresy grows in the garden of the Church.” - Lothar of Saxony, 12th century (cited in Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, 123).                 [Illustration, "Shepherd Wolf," by Gustave Dore]

“Your souls, more precious than thousands of worlds”

How should a pastor think of the members of the church he serves? Too often today church members are thought of as customers or potential workers. This is not the scriptural pattern; nor is it the practice of our forebears. Just today I came back to “The Glory and Ornament of a True Gospel‐constituted Church” […]

No “Safe Distance” Ministry

A main theme of this blog is the necessity of pastors knowing their people in order to be able really to pastor them. A colleague of mine, Justin Barnard, recently pointed me to Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus as a source making a similar point. The following excerpt is a powerful summary of ministry […]

The Pastoral Heart of the Reformation

Last week my article, “The Care of Souls: The Heart of the Reformation,” was published in the latest issue of Themelios. The article is my attempt to highlight the pastoral impulse behind this pivotal moment in history.  Amidst the important theological and political issues which were involved in this historic movement and which continue to […]

Pastor of a Church vs. Just a Preacher

“He who can only generalize in the pulpit, but has not ability to individualize out of it; who cannot in some measure meet the varieties of religious perplexity, and deal with the various modifications of awakened solicitude; who finds himself disinclined or disabled to guide the troubled conscience through the labyrinths which sometimes meet the […]

Beza, A Pastor Must Know Each of His People by Name

I have made the point often here that the New Testament portrays pastors knowing their people well, and not just speaking to crowds of unknown people. The command to watch over their souls, knowing God will hold us accountable for this (Heb 13:17), requires this as does a ministry in which we “warn everyone” and […]

Luther: ‘the souls of men and women were a charge which came upon him daily’

I recently came across this comment from Luther scholar, Gordon Rupp. It contains a valuable challenge to any who are involved in biblical study and pastoral ministry. “In the National Gallery there is a Flemish landscape. The artist, Patinir, had never seen real mountains, and he practiced with shards of rock which jut grotesquely from […]

Suicide, Justification by Faith & Pastoral Care

Ministry in the times of loss and death is one of the crucial roles of a pastor, so good examples of such ministry are indispensable. Recently in our church a dear brother took his own life. Such a situation raises a host of challenges and questions. Many people continue to think that a person who […]

Rootedness & Trust in Times of Trouble

Several weeks ago now, John Crowder, pastor of First Baptist Church in West, TX, where the fertilizer plant exploded, wrote a moving and very useful column about ministry in the aftermath. He mentions a number of lessons he drew from the event, and several are useful for pastoral ministry. Here, in his words,  is one that stuck […]

Pastors as Fathers, Caring for Each Member

Commenting on Paul’s statement that he cared for the Thessalonians as a father (1 Thess 2:11), Calvin articulates an important aspect of pastoral ministry. unquestionably, no one will ever be a good pastor, unless he shows himself to be a  father to the Church that is committed to him. Nor does he merely declare himself […]