Pastors should be the most positive person in the room. I get that in part from 1 Peter 1:2 which says Pastors are to be “eager to serve.” By positive I don’t mean they steer away from difficult subjects, or they just encourage all the time. But rather, they have an optimistic outlook because they are convinced of the power of the gospel, not because they avoid difficulty.
The pastors I have most looked up in my years of ministry were persistently encouraging AND had consistently high expectations of believers. By encouraging I don’t only mean in ‘word’ but in thoughtful planning and helping believers to meet the expectations. By expectations, I don’t mean man made rules, but rather the application of Scripture in the local church context.
Heavy shepherding is what happens when there is high expectations but not encouraging or supportive environment for believers
To see the most growth in maturity in a local church, expect the gospel to produce the best possible outcome for every believer. Believe that the Spirit and the Word equip every Christian with what they need to live fruitful godly lives but know that this side of eternity it takes effort and work to be fruitful and godly.
There are many examples we could look at but readily in my mind I feel the sense of this very clearly from the following passages:
“Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus” (Philemon 8-9)
“Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
“And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.” (1 Corinthians 5:2-3)
What passages would you readily go to that exemplify this ethos?