I woke up weeping, feeling the pain of this pastor leaving the church. In my dream, the Lord showed me the heart of true pastors in this hour and is calling us to pray for them. Their call is not to be charismatic CEO’s of ministries, but spiritual fathers (and mothers) who shepherd the flock. The grace on their lives is irreplaceable at a time when the world desperately needs a place to call home.
I saw two different pastors in two different settings. The first pastor was dressed in his sacred garments talking to a TV camera. He was walking around his office talking about the latest church campaign. He was laying out the professionally-made and well-coordinated materials to go along with this initiative, urging the viewers to join in the program. I was impressed by his talent and charisma, but was not moved in my heart or spirit.
Next, I was in a board room of a church and the members were sitting around the table processing a sad and painful transition. Sitting across from me was their pastor. I immediately knew in the spirit his heart for his flock. He was a true father. Humble of spirit, gentle, and compassionate. But, he was leaving. The members were grieving and at a loss. One even looked at me and said, “Do you really know him?” It was a statement more than a question. He was speaking to the quality of this man who had been their spiritual father and loving shepherd. As I looked around the table, I felt the sense of hopelessness. Though there were others who could take charge, they could not care for the people the way this pastor had. I began to cry and felt the deep pain of heaven at the depth of this loss.
Heaven is getting our attention. Those who have been called as true five-fold pastors in this day are under fierce pressure to PRODUCE. Yet, the grace and call on their life is not necessarily to grow a ministry but to grow people. They are not looking to market anything. They are not looking to attract attention to themselves or their ministries. Their heart has been captured by the sons and daughters the Lord has charged them with, and it is this passion alone that drives them. They are the anchor of the family and the model to follow for they are true servant-leaders motivated out of sincere love. Yet, we may be losing them if we do not recognize, not just the gifts they have, but the gift they are.
In my dream, it was specifically a FATHER that was needed. This does not exclude women, as spiritual mothers are also needed. However, I believe the Lord is highlighting the unique qualities of a father that are critical in establishing a kingdom culture where every believer knows they are loved, cared for, and belong.
During this “Pastor Appreciation Month” (October), pray for the pastors! (Rather a “coincidence” I have this dream right now:-). Those who are truly called will bear the fruit of healthy families and will be well-loved by their flock. May they be embraced, honored, and celebrated for the true gift they are to us.
“And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15, 23:4 ESV).