The pastor by definition is a shepherd, the under-shepherd of the flock of God. His primary task is to feed the flock by leading them to green pastures. He also has to care for them when they are sick or hurt, and seek them when they go astray. The importance of the pastor depends on the value of the sheep. Pursue the pastoral metaphor a little further: Israel’s sheep were reared, fed, tended, retrieved, healed and restored – for sacrifice on the altar of God. This end of all pastoral work must never be forgotten – that its ultimate aim is to lead God’s people to offer themselves up to Him in total devotion of worship and service.
William Still, The Work of the Pastor, Kindle Loc. 142.
This book by William Still is officially the best I’ve ever read on pastoral ministry. This opening description of the life of a pastor is stunning – the pastor’s aim is to prepare sheep for slaughter – to lead God’s people toward personal sacrifice and ultimate devotion to God.