Here’s an interesting comparison by Rev. Dr. James Baneck of the LCMS that might answer that question. The lambs and sheep our Savior sent Peter to feed and tend were not the wooly kind residing on a beautiful hillside. There are, however, rich parallels between shepherding sheep and shepherding God's people.
James Rebanks watches over real four-legged sheep in the United Kingdom. He writes about the parallels in his article, “Are You Hard Enough to Survive as a Shepherd?”
"The romance wears off after a few weeks, believe me, and you will be left standing cold and lonely on a mountain. It is all about endurance. Digging in. Holding on. You will also need to be emotionally. tough … Carrion crows hang over our lambing fields waiting to steal the eyes out of anything sick or dead that cannot resist … You’ll need the patience of a saint, too, because sheep test you to the limit with a million ways to escape, ail, or die … It requires a body of knowledge and skills that shepherds devote decades to learning."
How this applies to our pastors! There is nothing romantic about being a pastor; it is hard work and often lonely. It demands an endurance that comes only from God. Like carrion crows, Satan seeks to devour God’s people. The pastor stands guard. protecting and feeding God’s sheep with Christ in the preached Word and blessed Sacraments. The formation of men for the Holy Ministry begins at Baptism. And while pastoral formation is intensified during seminary, “it requires a body of knowledge and skills that [pastors] devote decades to learning."
Pastors are to be clothed with the humility of Christ, “who humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). Pastors must be equipped to lead Gods people to the waters of Holy Baptism, where God gives new birth to sinners and opens the kingdom of heaven for them. Pastors are formed to be stewards of the mysteries of God. Pastors feed God’s sheep the Word of God in preaching and teaching and with the body and blood of our Lord at His table. Pastors listen, love and seek the lost.
Looking at all that a Pastor does, how is he prepared for this role at the Seminars’? Can you help with this preparation? Could you sponsor a seminarian? Could you help COS in their sponsoring of eight seminary students? Please help with your gift! ‘For more information, contact John W. Smith. God bless your help.