Summary: We often use the word, "Pastor" to describe any paid leader in the church. The New Testament gives us a much different description.
What Is A Pastor?
In this chapter we will give a brief overview of what the Biblical definition of a “pastor” really is. We will attempt to dispel some myths that have developed and have been perpetuated for years regarding this very much-needed ministry in the Body of Christ. We will also provide some pastoral resources and counseling helps for you. Pastoring people, just like any ministry in the Body of Christ is better learned by actually doing it. We have provided what we consider to be a fair amount of information and “tools” for you to use, but all of these tools will be useless outside the realm of practical experience.
What Does the Bible Say?
Eph. 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
It is funny that in the whole Bible, the word “pastor”, only appears once, in the verse above, yet so much has been said and taught regarding what a pastor is and does.
A Pastor Is A Shepherd
Although the word “pastor” only appears once in the Bible, the Greek word, poeima that is translated “pastors” in Ephesians chapter 4 appears many times. The literal translation for the word poemia is “shepherd”. Let’s look at what the dictionary says a shepherd is.
Shepherd: A person employed in tending sheep; one who exercises spiritual care over a community; a pastor or minister.
That’s it. The Biblical definition of a “pastor” is simply a shepherd – a person who cares for and protects the portion of God’s flock that has been entrusted to them.
Our modern day definition of “pastor” however, is very different from the simple, Biblical definition. When we think of the qualifications of being a pastor, we immediately think of someone who is a great public speaker, very charismatic, a very profound, academic person overflowing with wisdom - and college degrees! Some may even be quite surprised to find out that the Biblical qualifications for leadership don’t even mention education, they are 100% spiritual qualifications, not natural. Let’s take a look at the guidelines that the Bible gives for those who are to be involved in leadership in the Body of Christ:
Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. 8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus. • 1Tim. 3:1