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ARE YOU THE PASTOR?

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INTRODUCTION

1. “Are you the pastor?” is a question that I am frequently asked…
a. When people visit our services
b. When someone calls the church building
— A similar question when people learn that I preach: “What church
do you pastor?”

2. The questions are well-intentioned, but misinformed…
a. Most people are not aware of the Biblical use of the word “pastor”
b. Indeed, most “pastors” today are not even qualified to be a pastor
in the Biblical sense

[If we desire to use Bible words in Bible ways, then we do well to
consider the proper meaning and use of the word “pastor”…]

I. “PASTOR” IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

A. THE WORD DEFINED…
1. The English word “pastor” is found only one time in the NT!
a. Listed along with apostles, prophets, evangelists, and
teachers – Ep 4:11
b. Interesting how a word found only once has become almost the
universal term for addressing ministers of any sort!
2. The Greek word is poimen, and means “a shepherd (literally or
figuratively): – shepherd, pastor” – Strong
a. The English word “shepherd” is found seventeen (17) times in
the NT
b. Literally, in such passages as Lk 2:8,15,18,20
c. Figuratively, in such passages as Jn 10:11,14; He 13:20;
1Pe 2:25
— So in Ep 4:11, it means “shepherds” metaphorically; but who
were they?

B. THE POSITION DESCRIBED…
1. The pastors or shepherds in the NT church were the “elders” of
the congregation
a. “Compare Ac 20:28, which, with Ac 20:17, indicates that this
was the service committed to elders (overseers or bishops);
so also in 1Pe 5:1-2” – Vine
b. I.e., it was the elders who had the duty to be overseers
(bishops) and to shepherd (pastor) and feed the flock of God
2. What the NT reveals is not three distinct offices, but
different ways to describe the spiritual leaders of a
congregation and their work:
a. Elders (Grk., presbuteros, presbyter) for they were older
men – Ac 14:23; 20:17
b. Bishops (Grk. episkopos, overseer) for their task was to
oversee the congregation – cf. Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:1-2
c. Pastors (Grk. poimen, shepherd) for their task was to
shepherd and feed the flock of God – cf. Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:
1-2
3. The NT also reveals that there was always a plurality of elders
(pastors) in a congregation
a. Never just one, but at least two
b. Which served to prevent one-man rule over a congregation
— So the pastors were elders (presbyters), also known as bishops
(overseers); but what were their qualifications?

C. THE QUALIFICATIONS DELINEATED…
1. The qualifications for elder-bishop-pastor are found in two
places
a. In Paul’s instructions to Timothy – 1Ti 3:1-7
b. In Paul’s charge to Titus – Tit 1:5-9
2. Note that these passages describe what an elder-bishop-pastor
“must be”, including:
a. The husband of one wife (i.e., a married man)
b. With believing children (i.e., children who are faithful)
3. Such qualifications rule out:
a. Single “pastors”
b. Childless “pastors”
c. Female “pastors”
— In light of what pastors “must be”, many who claim to be
pastors really aren’t pastors in the Biblical sense

[At this point, one may wonder: “Well, if you are not a pastor, then
what are you and what role do you serve in the church?” It may
, therefore, help to consider…]

II. “PASTOR” COMPARED WITH OTHER TERMS

A. EVANGELIST…
1. This word is found three times in the NT
a. The same place where the word “pastor” is found once – Ep
4:11
b. Philip, one of the original seven appointed to help needy
widows, was later described as “the evangelist” – Ac 21:8;
cf. 8:4-5,40
c. Timothy was charged to do “the work of an evangelist” – 2 Ti
4:5
2. “The term evangelist describes a proclaimer of good news
(gospel, euangelion).” – Ferrell Jenkins, The Early Church
a. “It is popular in modern times to think of an evangelist as
one who travels from place to place.” – ibid.
b. “The idea of travel is not inherent in the word evangelist”
– ibid.
c. Philip evidently spent twenty years in Caesarea (Ac 8:40;
21:8); Timothy was charged to remain in Ephesus (1Ti 1:3)
3. The work of an evangelist in relation to a congregation – ibid.
a. Preach the word – 2Ti 4:1-5
b. Put the brethren in mind of truth – 1Ti 4:6
c. Reprove sinners, including elders if necessary – 1Ti 5:
19-21
d. Set in order, lead in appointing elders, teach
qualifications – Tit 1:5
e. Teaching and training of teachers – 2Ti 2:2
f. Teach against false doctrine and silence false teachers
– 1Ti 1:3-4; Tit 1:11,13
g. Set an example for the brethren – 1Ti 4:12; Tit 2:7
h. Give attention to reading, exhortation, teaching – 1 Ti
4:13; 2Ti 2:15
4. The work between that of pastors and evangelists contrasted:
a. An elder (pastor) is to take heed to self and to the flock
– Ac 20:28
b. An evangelist is to take heed to self and to his teaching
– 1Ti 4:16
— An evangelist is not a pastor (unless qualified and appointed
to serve in a dual role, along with other pastors in the
congregation), but a minister of the Word of God

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B. PREACHER…
1. This word or related words (preach, preaching) is found many
times in the Scriptures
a. It describes the ministry of John the Baptist – Mt 3:1
b. It describes the ministry of Jesus – Mt 4:17,23; 9:35
c. It describes what Philip and Paul did with the gospel – Ac
8:5; 9:20
d. Its role in saving souls is emphasized – Ro 10:14-15
e. Timothy was charged to preach the word – 2Ti 4:2
2. “The term kerux is used of a herald, messenger, or proclaimer”
– Jenkins
— A preacher, then, would likely be an evangelist, proclaiming
the gospel of Christ to lost souls; once saved, pastors
(elders) were to watch over those souls

C. MINISTER…
1. “This term (Greek, diakonos) describes a servant (1Ti 4:6).”
– Jenkins
a. “The term is not limited to the preacher; it is used of
deacons and other servants (1Ti 3:8,12).” – ibid.
b. “The preacher is not to be the (only) minister of a church.”
– ibid.
2. Indeed, all those who serve in some capacity can rightly be
called ministers
a. Deacons, of course, because that is what their very name
means – 1Ti 3:8
b. Evangelists or preachers, for they are ministers:
1) Used by God to reach out to the lost – 1Co 3:5
2) Of the new covenant – 2Co 3:6
3) Of God – 2Co 6:4; 1Th 3:2
4) Of Christ – 2Co 11:23; 1Ti 4:6
c. Those who serve a congregation in some way – Ro 16:1; Col 1:7
— Even pastors can rightly be called “ministers”, in the sense
that they serve God and His flock by watching over the flock;
but a minister is not necessarily a pastor!

CONCLUSION

1. Who can rightly be called a “pastor” according to the Bible…?
a. Those elders-bishops, who are charged to shepherd (pastor) the
flock of God
b. Those who meet all the qualifications as listed by Paul in 1Ti 3:
1-7; Tit 1:5-9
c. Who watches over a congregation not alone, but with a least another
pastor duly qualified

2. Those often referred to as “pastor” might more properly be thought of
as…
a. Preachers, evangelists
b. Teachers, ministers

Such is certainly true in my case, as I serve the Lord as a minister of
the Word and of the gospel of Christ. Speaking of which, have you heard
the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ…? – Ro 10:14-15

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