Have you been pastoring lately? No, I did not ask if you are a pastor. Pastoring is not just the work of church leaders we call “pastors.” Pastoring is a much broader concept that includes a whole perspective on life. Pastoring (a metaphor) is simply shepherding — caring for others. In his essay “The Theology of Pastoral Care” (Pastoral Psychology 10  21-26), Paul Tillich argued that pastoral care is a universal function. No profession can monopolize it. He went on to differentiate between those who are pastors and those who pastor as follows: pastors exercise this care intentionally and consciously, whereas others do so more casually and unintentionally. In this sense, then, pastoring has nothing to do with religious office per se. All believers can and should be pastoring. Pastors/shepherds may help to facilitate this ministry, but they do not pastor to the exclusion of the sheep caring for each other.
Becky has had numerous pastoral visits in recent days. Sometimes our “pastors” have come. At other times, pastoring brothers and sisters have visited her. Once again, the clerical paradigm fails us in our theology. The care in “pastoral care” should never be limited to ordained clergy. To confuse our “calling” with professionalization is a dangerous thing indeed. Sourced at David Alan Black’s blog.