The title Narrator rests handsomely be beneath the name on my business card. I was in search for a fresh metaphor since pastor has mixed connotations. Literally shepherd, the term pastor is biblical (John 21; Eph 4:11; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 2:25) but contextual.
Leader as shepherd implies people are without conflict. Sheep travel through vast hillsides with no thought toward their worries; my people walk through grocery stores with coupons and cell phones, concerned about minutes and discounts. They commute to church and work and after-school activities in over-sized cars on over-priced gas. They wonder if they are okay: accepted and loved. It is part of their story.
Leader as shepherd implies people are without voice. Sheep baa and bleat and chomp their teeth, but they cannot cry 'Wolf.' Contrarily, people will tell you if you preach too long, talk too loud, don't make sense, or challenge their hearts. More importantly, they have vision and values, if vocalized, that enrich the drama of the local church's story.
Leader as shepherd implies people are without effect. Sheep may affect grief, if trapped in the jaws of a wolf, or frustration, if wandering from the fold, but the beast will not direct the choir. Shepherding is functionally akin to corporate America, directives flowing from top down. The local church works better as a serial novel, part of a progressive story (i.e. the Kingdom of God), each character--minor or major--playing an essential role. Everyone shapes, influences, and effects God's narrative.
Anyone who has ever spun a story or told a tale knows that the characters burst from the page. Both heroes and villains become intimate table mates; they have histories, flaws, and mixed motives. They are complex. They are vocal. They are knowable.
I have the easy part: I narrate. The author is Jesus (Heb 12:2).