What does it mean to be “pastoral”?
I’m a pastor. Have been for almost 15 years. I love my job. I get to serve the God I love and work with the things our God loves most deeply: his word and his church. As a local church pastor, I am 100% in favor of being “pastoral.”
So long as the word means what the Bible means for it to mean.
In pastoral ministry, there is a great need for the right diagnosis of sheep. Just as a medical doctor cannot ignore the person in front of them and assume the same treatment will be equally effective for all, so the pastoral worker cannot assume all need the same type of care.
In John 11 Jesus arrived at Bethany after Lazarus had died. Martha and Mary both approached Jesus with exactly the same words, “If you had been here my brother would not have died.” Jesus did not reply with identical statements. He gave Martha practical hope, but Mary emotional empathy. Jesus knew the people he was caring for and treated them as individuals.