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Lesson 3: Pastoral Authority

The shepherd is not without authority.
This authority is based on competence, grounded in acceptance.
His Power comes from fidelity, caring, love and empathy.
In recent years, a cooperate model of leadership has crept into the church.
It is not compatible with pastoral care.

The pastoral office implies a definable distinction between the laity (general ministry) and clergy
(ordained ministry).
The difference is based not on supposed moral superiority or political expediency,
but upon the inward call of God to representative service, outwardly confirmed by
the whole church in ordination.
Again, laity and clergy are alike in faith, hope, and love.
They are equally justified, and both need the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.

Pastoral caring is not merely a sociological function based on a group's need for leadership.
Nor is it a psychological function based on the inner need to care for others.
Christian ministry is a continuation of Christ's own ministry.
We represent Him with our every breath and deed.

The minister's care comes in the name of the whole church, offering word, sacrament,
counsel, corrective guidance, and empathy.
This is not on the basis of his or her own personal insight.
It is on the basis of being called, prepared, ordained and authorized to represent the church.

Pastoral care means undertaking the care of souls.
The goal of pastoral ministry is to introduce and relate individuals to Christ.
The best metaphor for understanding this task is that of a shepherd caring for sheep.

Pastoral care means making persons not programs the priority.
Personal relations, not organizational structures are where ministers must invest heavily.
We are called to be shepherds not chief executive officers.

Discussion Question:
Discuss authority as related to a shepherd ministry.