As we consider pastoral ministry (as well as what it means to follow Christ in general) in our setting of American evangelicalism one element which is woefully absent from our discussion is suffering. Suffering is as conspicuously absent from the discussion in our churches as it is obviously present in the New Testament. If we are truly going to shepherd souls we must speak to them about suffering. In my first year of teaching New Testament survey I read each NT book ahead of the lecture in order to note the themes I would point out. One thing that surprised me was that suffering showed up prominently in every book- every book! How is it then that it is so little addressed? Of course one reason is that too often our sermons are not derived from scripture. Much more could be said about this but let me point out a recent article in World Magazine written by G E Veith entitled, "Praying for Persecution".
Pastors would also do well to read the article on suffering in Pastoral ministry by Scott Hafemann, A Call to Pastoral Suffering: The Need for Recovering Paul's Model of Ministry in 2 Corinthians.
Faithful shepherds must prepare their people for reality.