Main Point: The gift of pastors is to nurture community and connection in the church. They focus on love in actions of protection, care, and encouraging wholeness.

Ephesians 4:11-12, 16 NIV

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. 

16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Romans 12:9-21 NIV
Love in Action
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, 
faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

1. The pastors watch out for and defend the flock from enemies that are trying to attack.

  • Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (v 9)
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (v 14)
  • Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (vs. 19-21)

2. The pastors encourage wholeness through healing the wounded and sick.

  • Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. 
    (v 13)
  • Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (v 11)
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (v 15)

3. The pastors show empathy and support lost or trapped sheep.

  • Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (v 10)
  • Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (v 12)
  • Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with     people of low position. Do not be conceited. (v 16)

4. The pastors nurture love and trust in the church community.

  • Love must be sincere. (v 9)
  • Practice hospitality. (v 13)
  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (vs. 17-18)