The Teacher as a Pastor

The World English dictionary from the website Dictionary.com defines "pastor" as a person who exercises spiritual guidance over a number of people; an archaic word for shepherd.  Although we may not have thought of our position in this way, a Sunday school teacher is a pastor to the students in his or her class.  To this end:


1.  He must be a safe example.

Paul admonished Timothy to "take heed unto thyself, and to the doctrine."  The first concern of a teacher should be himself.  He cannot escape being an example.  He will be closely copied, for good or evil.  What is evil in him will be copied most surely and closely. There is nothing truer than the old proverb:  "Like teacher, like scholar."

Let the teacher not delude himself by assuming that a safe public example, in the eye of the class and while on duty, is enough.  He is all the more dangerous as a leader if there is anything questionable in his manner of life.

2.  He must be a faithful friend.

Anyone can call himself "friend," but a truly faithful friend is hard to find.  Such friendship does not depend on popularity or sentiment.  It does not shrink from telling the truth in love.  It keeps guard over the faults of one's students and speaks the word of admonition in season and in private.

Paul saw the weak points in Timothy, and helped him by faithful warning to overcome them.  Jesus saw the crooked things in Peter's life, and saved him out of them.

To set a safe example is of negative value, unless there is added to it the positive endeavor of a faithful friend who seeks to save his students from themselves.

3.  He must "shepherd his flock."

He carries, or ought to carry, the marks of the Good Shepherd upon him.  He "knows his sheep."  He "finds pasture for them."  His sheep "know his voice," and are known of him, and "follow him."

What Christ was to the twelve, the teacher must seek to be to his students - teacher, companion, friend, overseer, and pastor!  Let him strive most of all to be able to say at the last, as Christ did the night before he died, "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name:  those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost."  (1)