Pastors must have compassion and empathy for those they serve, but it is not pastoral compassion and empathy that brings change and healing.
That comes from God working through his gracious means.
This by no means excuses pastors from compassion and empathy, for these adorn the reception of those gracious means.
From The Care Of Souls by Harold Senkbeil:
The word of God effects or performs what it speaks. It does not merely describe things but creates things. So while you and I as pastors can — and should — express our personal care and concern to suffering souls sympathetically and compassionately, there is only a temporary measure of relief in our concern and compassion. Genuine and lasting healing comes from God, not from us.
It took me quite a while to learn that lesson in the ministry. I was under the false impression that my personal empathy was the main help I could bring to sorrowing or hurting people. Not only was I wrong, but I quickly ran out of empathy. I don’t know about you, but I have a limited capacity for compassion. And when I’m running on empty, I’ve got nothing left to give.
The Care Of Souls, Harold Senkbeil, Lexham Press, 2019, pgs 92-93.