The Pastor’s Role: Duties, Tasks, and Responsibilities of a Pastor/Shepherd/Elder/Overseer
What is the Pastor’s responsibility as a Shepherd to the Sheep in The church?
What the Pastor is not for his congregation: While he can do the following (if he can) the primary work of the Pastor/Teacher/ Preacher is to Preach the Word. But for a pastor to to perform the following things for his members does not make him a good pastor.
- A baby sitter
- Taxi driver
- Lawn Mowing service
- TV repair tech
- Computer Tech
- Pick up your children from jail
- Be responsible for the physical work at the church
In many small churches the pastor wants to have his hands in everything that happens in the church. He wants to control the heat, the air, the paint on the wall, how to set up the fellowship hall, etc. I don’t see that as part of the pastor’s responsibility.
Do I see when there is a project that the pastor should be right in there helping them resurface the parking lot to show he is a good pastor? Personally I don’t see that as showing you are a good pastor. Should the pastor control how the parking lot is done? No.
Should the pastor do things that he can get others to do? No.
Ephesians 4 seems to be teaching that the pastor is to help the people do the work of the ministry, no do the work of the ministry.
Can the pastor do things in the church? I have been in churches where the deacons said “Your job pastor is to pray and study and preach the Word, not to set up the fellowship hall for dinner.” Love that. They did not want me to open the church doors, they did not want me to paint the walls in the Sunday School. Boy was I glad of that too. Deacons were giving the responsible to help the elderly and those in need.
What action should a “pastor” do that would be louder than what he preaches? In a small church setting as I am in, I am willing to do a lot of things to help. While I am not real sure that you mean here, there is nothing more important for the pastor then showing them that he is well prepared to preach the message that God has for him to preach. They are more impress with his preaching than they are with him painting a house or room. If you mean that the church sees their Pastor that he can do landscaping, be a minor lumberjack, do land mowing, paint his house, stain the deck, take care of six acres of land on his own property that I understand. If he is wonderful to his wife, take her out to eat. Vacuum the rooms, clean the bathrooms, etc. that I can understand. If they see him go to a soccer game that his 4 year old is playing 130 miles from home. Most preachers do that, but they can’t preach a lick on Sunday.
WHAT SHOULD THE PASTOR DO?
When there is only one Pastor/Preacher there are things that he will have to do in a small church. I understand that, and I have done a lot of the able things.
- Primary he is responsibility for the spiritual welfare of his flock. That is accomplished by presenting the Word of God.
- I visit with my people Sunday Bible Study, Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, and Wednesday Night that is four times and four hours. I talk with them, fellowship with them, and hear them talk.
- The Baptist Confession of Faith London 1689
- There are several important factors and aspects of a pastoral office to consider. He has several manifold natures to reflect: A pastor acts as servant, shepherd/overseer, teacher, spiritual parent, spiritual governor.
Further, he exercises several sacred responsibilities:
* careful attention to his flock “take heed”
* a thorough provision for their needs “feed my lambs”
* a biblical instruction for their good “preach the word”
* a personal nurture for his flock “exhorting, encouraging and testifying”
* a servant rule and management “as God’s steward, as one who must give an account”
His primary methods of ministering come through prayer for his flock and the ministry of the word to them. He should employ these methods through personal example, diligence, faithfulness, gentleness and love.
In practice, this manifests most generally as:
* honoring God and representing him accurately
* visiting and counseling the flock
* participating in interviewing prospective members
* bringing the gospel to lost people
* helping to set church policies
* teaching faithful men so that those men may, in turn, teach
* preserve, translate and communicate the faithful deposit of Holy Scripture
- One of Jesus’ favorite metaphors for spiritual leadership, one He often used to describe Himself, was that of a shepherd–a person who tends God’s flock. A shepherd leads, feeds, nurtures, comforts, corrects, and protects–responsibilities that belong to every church leader. In fact, the word pastor means shepherd.
- The pastor’s goal is not to please the sheep, but to feed them–not to tickle their ears, but to nourish their souls. He is not to offer merely light snacks of spiritual milk, but the substantial meat of biblical truth. Those who fail to feed the flock are unfit to be shepherds (cf. Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:2-10).
- Feed (as a shepherd)
- Defend (as a shepherd)
- Guide (as a shepherd)
- Discipline (as a shepherd)
- Be mature (as an elder)
- Be respected (as an elder)
- Oversee (as an overseer)
- Godly manage (as an overseer)
- Hold in spiritual accountability (as an overseer)
- Practitioner of the marks (preaching, administering the ordinances)
- Meet with staff
- Be disciplined and stick to a workable schedule
- Graze – feed the flock
- Guide – direct, model, equip, and keep the flock
The work of pastors being constantly to attend the service of Christ, in his churches, in the ministry of the word and prayer, with watching for their souls, as they that must give an account to Him; it is incumbent on the churches to whom they minister, not only to give them all due respect, but also to communicate to them of all their good things according to their ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves entangled in secular affairs; and may also be capable of exercising hospitality towards others; and this is required by the law of nature, and by the express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel.
( Acts 6:4; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Timothy 5:17, 18; Galatians 6:6, 7; 2 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Corinthians 9:6-14 )
According to Carson (For the Love of God, vol. 1, [Crossway: 1998] Nov. 2):
According to Dever (The Deliberate Church, [Crossway: 2005], 89-95):
- Praying and studying Scripture
- Ruling/leading the church
- managing the church
- caring for people in the church
- giving account to God for the church
- living exemplary lives
- rightly using the authority God has given them
- teaching the Bible correctly
- praying for the sick
- teaching sound doctrine and refuting false teachings
- working hard
- rightly using money and power
- protecting the church from false teachers
- disciplining unrepentant Christians
- obeying the secular laws as the legal ruling body of a corporation
- developing other leaders and teachers
According to the New Testament, elders are responsible for the primary leadership and oversight of a church. The function and role of an elder is well summarized by Alexander Strauch in his book Biblical Eldership: “Elders lead the church [1 Tim 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 5:1-2], teach and preach the Word [1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9], protect the church from false teachers [Acts 20:17, 28-31], exhort and admonish the saints in sound doctrine [1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:13-17; Titus 1:9], visit the sick and pray [James 5:14; Acts 20:35], and judge doctrinal issues [Acts 15:16]. In biblical terminology, elders shepherd, oversee, lead, and care for the local church” (16).