Technology – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse – affects how pastors shepherd their churches more than ever before. Many of us preach from digital mini-pulpits through blogs and social media. Our members, when they are sick our out of town, hear our preaching through ear buds or watch us on Vimeo.
These outlets for building up our churches are wonderful. It isn’t un-pastoral to pursue the effective and edifying use of technology in order to serve our people. I would say that it’s un-pastoral not to. But someday, maybe even in our lifetime, the internet will be a dated medium of content. The usefulness of social media will run its course.
But there are ways you can shepherd your flock that will never go obsolete. They don’t scale and they aren’t efficient, but they make an impact on individual lives every time you do them.
1. Eating meals in your home with people from your church.
2. Visiting the sick in the hospital or nursing home.
3. Serving Communion to a member who is home-bound.
4. Smiling and saying “Hi” to everyone you walk by on Sunday morning.
5. Looking the person in the eyes and addressing him or her by their first name when you do #4 (especially if you are at a large church).
6. Cracking open the Bible with someone who is hungry to learn, and teaching him or her what God’s word says, one-to-one.
7. Mailing a sympathy card when a member loses a loved one.
8. Connecting specific promises of Scripture with specific life situations while counseling, discipling, or in casual conversation.
9. Saying, “Can I pray for you right now?” instead of, “I’ll be praying for you.”
10. Occasionally preaching with tears.
I don’t see myself growing tired of these valuable ways of ministering to God’s people. These are the kinds of things that make being a pastor worth it. Life-on-life ministry will never go out of style.