Ambassador for Christ!
In a letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul discusses the ministry of reconciliation, and he uses the term “ambassadors” for Christ: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20, emphasis added).
Generally speaking, an ambassador is a respected official acting as a representative of a nation. Sent to a foreign land, the ambassador’s role is to reflect the official position of the sovereign body that gave him authority. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul likens his own calling to that of an ambassador, and he urges all Christians to consider themselves ambassadors for Christ. The gospel of reconciliation was always at the heart of Paul’s preaching: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17).
Our Reconciliation with God is possible only because Christ went to the cross and received the punishment due for our sin. When our Savior cried out, “It is finished,” the barrier between sinful man and Holy God was removed, making all those who trust in Him “holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22). Our reconciliation is based on the salvation Jesus provides, and it is accepted by faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Christians are God’s ambassadors in that they have been “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). As we go through this world, we represent another Kingdom (John 18:36), and it is our responsibility to reflect the “official position” of heaven. We are in this world, but not of it (John 17:16). God’s ambassadors are to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must take the message of our King to the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), imploring men and women everywhere to be reconciled to God.
In its most general sense, pastoral care refers to the ministries/services usually performed by a pastor. Some denominations of the Christian faith use the phrase to refer to more specific aspects of a pastor’s ministry, such as counseling and visitation. The core idea of “pastoral care” is that pastors are to care. The word pastor comes from the Latin word for “shepherd.” A pastor is to be a shepherd or caretaker of God’s flock. “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3, emphasis added).
Many people have a misunderstanding of what exactly pastors do, thinking that their primary responsibility is preaching on Sunday. The joke that pastors only work one day a week could not be further from the truth. Beyond preparing and delivering a sermon, pastors provide biblical counseling, visit the sick and injured in hospitals, and disciple members of the congregation through phone calls, lunch meetings, and other social engagements. Many pastors serve as chaplains in hospitals, the military, workplaces, schools, and prisons. All of these ministries are aspects of pastoral care.
In reality, pastoral-care ministries are just as valuable as the delivery of a sermon. Caring for a person who is struggling with a difficulty, being present during a time of pain, praying with someone in a crisis-these are the moments when spiritual breakthroughs occur. Ministering through a good, biblically sound sermon is absolutely necessary. But ministering through a personal touch, i.e., pastoral care, is just as important.
There is another meaning of pastoral care that should be mentioned. Recognizing the tremendous amount of stress and burn-out many pastors experience, there are some ministries that use the phrase “pastoral care” to refer to ministry to pastors. Secluded locations where pastors can get away for a time, counseling ministries to pastors and their families, and even the pastoring of pastors are aspects of this form of pastoral care. Perhaps the best understanding of pastoral care is that pastors are to care for us, and we are to care for our pastors.
Are You are an Ambassador for Christ! and show Pastoral Care? If not Will you from here on? Amen!