In recent weeks my pastor has been able to observe a behaviour in my life and offer quite specific correction and instruction, he's been able to deliver me specific and detailed encouragement about my own service of the church, he's preached God's word for me to hear as I've sat with the rest of the church at our church weekend away. He's prayed and prophesied and strengthened our faith.
He has prayed for me, and my family during a difficult week - which I know because he told me. He's probably also prayed for me and not told me about that.
I've sat with him and other young men as he's shared his dreams and ideas and taken feedback. I've taken a train journey with him. We've talked and prayed and eaten around the same table.We learned together in the on-the-job training course we're doing. I've observed him with his wife and his children. I've seen the tiredness on his face because his kids haven't slept well. I've seen him laugh at himself. I've sought to learn from him as he's interacted with other Dads at the Father's Group we attend.
I recognise that as a leader in the church myself I've probably had slightly more access to my pastor than might be the case for everyone in our church - but as he pastors us in our situations we're better able to pastor the rest of the church with him.
The point is, if pastoring was *just* preaching I could just download his podcast, because in my view he's one of the best young preachers around. And preaching is a massive part of pastoring - leaders are meant to speak the word of God to their people. But there is more to being a pastor, and I'm very thankful for that. Paul and his team shared his life and gospel with the Thessalonians, and as he mentored Timothy it was both Paul's doctrine and example that had helped Timothy to grow in Christ.
The same is true more broadly - strangely to me there are lots of people who read this blog. Some of them I know, some I don't. And I appreciate the opportunity to serve the church on a broad scale through social media, along with conferences and books etc... but nothing beats the opportunities for life-on-life-on-mission with my family, my home group, others from church and my team and others. These are people who know my faults and foibles, the people I sin against and have to ask forgiveness from. People who "gospel" me and whom I can "gospel".