Tom Schreiner, New Testament professor at SBTS and prolific author, has some poignant words for young pastors. In his article on speaking the truth in love, he gives counsel to pastors on how to shepherd their flock with grace and truth. Pastors must speak the truth in love with Spirit-wrought patience, kindness, and endurance (cf Eph 4:15; 2 Tim 2:24). He writes,
Love recognizes that people are not changed in a day. Love takes people where they are and moves them slowly toward a deeper appreciation of truth. Love does not relish controversy, but longs to shepherd the flock so that it becomes more like Christ. Love never compromises the truth, but it does not burst onto the scene by teaching controversial doctrines. Love communicates that you want to be a pastor and a shepherd and healer and not just a teacher. Love never compels or constrains others to share your beliefs; it patiently teaches, remembering that truth dawned upon our hearts slowly and that our knowledge is still imperfect. Love does not tolerate error, but it stoops low to understand the person who is mistaken, for the one who understands why one believes a falsehood will be able to explain more deeply and sympathetically why such a view is wrong.
Well said. May I and all those who pastor be such loving servants!
Soli Deo Gloria, dss