Pastoral Priorities: How to Better Prioritise One Thing

pastoral priorities


Amongst our pastoral priorities – every Christian – myself included decided simply to be with Jesus, then all other godly goals we might long for would simply fall into place.


As a Salvation Army officer, I am required to go through an annual Officer Development Review, an appraisal or performance review that all Salvation Army officers in the UK go through, a chance to see whether we have reached our goals. From my past experiences as a lawyer annual reviews can range from affirming and encouraging to toe-curlingly awful!

Reflecting On Our Pastoral Priorities in Life

As spiritual leaders it is good to ask ourselves, before God, what are our pastoral priorities in life? An appraisal, if you like. What are your pastoral priorities in life? We may have many worthy goals. We might cite a mission statement: Save Souls, Grow Saints, Serve Suffering Humanity, for example. Another slogan might come to mind: Transformation, Integration, Discipleship and Effectiveness. Some might quote the Bible: Love God and Others, Make Disciples, and so on.

Jesus suggests another goal:

Jesus, the True Vine

15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

John 15:1-8 (NLT)

To be with Jesus

As I have studied this passage more and more, I have come to the conviction that if every Christian leader – every Christian – myself included decided simply to be with Jesus, then all other pastoral priorities we might long for would simply fall into place. Want to save souls? Be with Jesus! Want to grow saints? Be with Jesus! Want to serve suffering humanity? Be with Jesus! Want transformation, integration, discipleship, effectiveness? Be with Jesus! Want to love God and others? Be with Jesus! Want to make disciples? Be with Jesus! Remain in him. Abide in him. Rest in him. Make your home in him.

Spend time with Jesus. Do everything that you do, moment by moment, day by day, conscious of his presence with you. As we spend time with him and get to know him better, the goals we truly want in life, the purpose God has for each one of us will become clear. That’s the best of our pastoral priorities.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

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