‘The good pastor…models his ministry on the good shepherd,’ writes John Stott in The Contemporary Christian (pp 280-290). As such, he has the following characteristics:-
- The good shepherd knows his sheep, Jn 10:3, 14f. He will know them by name, and he will know them personally and intimately.
- The good shepherd serves his sheep, Jn 10:11. This is in contrast to false shepherds, who serve themselves, Eze 34:2; June 12. It may be unrewarding, sacrificial work, but he is following Jesus’ example in doing it.
- The good shepherd leads his sheep, Jn 10:3. He does not drive them from behind, but walks in front of them.
- The good shepherd feeds his sheep, Jn 10:9. He does not spoon-feed them, but rather leads them to good pastures. Teaching the word is paramount in this regard.
- The good shepherd rules his sheep, 2 Sam 5:2. There is no place for the language of ‘thrones’ and ‘palaces’ in respect of God’s elders/overseers. But they are ‘over’ a local church, 1 Thess 5:12, and others are to ‘obey’ them and ‘submit to their authority’, Heb 13:17.
- The good shepherd guards his sheep, Jn 10:12f, and when faced by wolves does not flee, but stays to defend his flock.
- The good shepherd seeks his sheep, Jn 10:16. As in Jesus’ time, so today there are ‘other sheep’ who are to be brought into the fold.