It seems like there is a lot of confusion today about the role of the pastor in a church. As you may or may not know, pastors do not work two days a week, it is more like seven days a week more often than naught. As a general rule, pastors are usually overworked and underpaid. This is why the call to pastor is exactly that, a calling. Pastors are rarely in this profession for the money, but rather the calling that God has placed on their life.
So what should you expect from your pastor? What should the bulk of their job responsibility be? I had the privilege of teaching on this last night for our college ministry, and I hope this clarifies what God expects of a pastor, and likewise what our congregations should expect.
1. To Know and Study the Word
- “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handing the word of truth.”- 2 Timothy 1:15
- “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”- James 3:1
Pastors have the awesome responsibility of knowing and studying God’s Word so that they can better communicate it’s truths to the congregation. This is no easy task, and the stakes are very high. Not only are they on a stage for all to evaluate their knowledge, they are also held to a higher standard by God Himself.
Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, was a man committed to studying the Word of God. It has been said that he owned thousands of volumes of commentaries and theological works that he dived into so that he could “accurately handle the Word of truth.” In regards to teaching preparation for pastors, he said this:
“An idler has no right in the pulpit. He is an instrument of Satan damning the souls of men…He who has ceased to learn has ceased to teach. He who no longer sows in study will no more reap in the pulpit”- Charles Spurgeon
2. To Teach and Preach the Word
- “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and and instruction.”- 2 Timothy 4:1-2
- “…give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.”- 1 Timothy 4:13
While many understand that this is a major part of a pastor’s job, it still must be noted that the primary responsibility of a pastor is to teach and preach God’s Word to His people using sound doctrine. His job is not to entertain the crowd, make everyone feel good about themselves, or put on a show. He is called to teach the Word. This is not to say that a pastor can’t be engaging or preach a positive message, but it must be grounded in the Word of God.
When you go to church, keep the following in mind:
We don’t go to church to be entertained, we go to be fed and equipped.
3. To Refute Heresy and Unsound Doctrine
- “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding wordily and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”- which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.”- 1 Timothy 6:20-21
- “instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines.”- 1 Timothy 1:3
- “…so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”- Titus 1:9-10
If your pastor dances around issues, or doesn’t have the guts to confront a heresy that is spreading through the church heresies like…
The Prosperity Gospel
The New Apostolic Reformation
If your pastor is not willing to address heresy, then you should be concerned. A large portion of the New Testament was written to confront heresy, and it was commanded to pastors and elders is to snuff it out. Too many sheep are being led astray by false shepherds, and we are in desperate need of men willing to confront those heretical teachers.
4. To Pray And Intercede For His Flock
- “First of all then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men…”- 1 Timothy 2:1
- “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord…”- James 5:14
Pastors are called to pray for their flock, to intercede on their sheep’s behalf. Therefore, a pastor needs to know what is going on amongst his congregation. Most pastors are more than willing to do this, but the sheep must communicate to their shepherd their struggles and needs.
5. To Make Disciples Who Make Disciples
- “The things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”- 2 Timothy 2:2
- “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”- Matthew 28:19-20
This is a calling that, as believers, we all share. The Pastor however, should be looking to disciple leaders amongst his church who will go out and make more leaders for the church. As my pastor says, the pastor of a church should be looking for F.A.T. people.
These are the things that should be expected of your pastor. These are the things that God expects of a pastor. Does your pastor follow these guidelines? If not, it might be time to find a different church…