“And he gave some,
apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, PASTORS and
teachers;” (Ephesians )
We will look at the
office of the Pastor in this study.
There are women Apostles,
Prophetesses, Evangelists and Teachers in the New Testament but there are
no women Pastors. Without a doubt, this is because a man is to
be the head of his family. (1Corinthians 11:3) A man would be in an
unscriptural, awkward position indeed seeking counsel from a woman Pastor
alone for himself or his family.
However, a husband
and a wife working closely together as Pastors would be a different
story. There is a delicate balance even there, but a wise, anointed
and sensitive couple can achieve it.
It is not that women are inept
at handling God’s Word. They are not. Any anointed woman can
handle the Word of God with the same excellence as an anointed man.
This is why they are allowed to stand in the other four Ministry offices
However, God does have a certain order of family
government that He requires His family to stick with tenaciously if they
are to see supernatural results in life and Ministry.
Our opening text is
the only place in the New Testament where the word “Pastor” is actually
used. However, the same Greek word is translated as “Shepherd” at
least sixteen additional times.
In the Old Testament the equivalent
Hebrew word is found seventy-one times.
In both the Old Testament and
the New Testament even God and Jesus are referred to as “Shepherds.” (Psalm
23:1; 80:1; Ezekiel 34:1-23; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25)
Almighty God dearly
loves His family and has not left them without leadership, protection or
provision. This is why He has appointed Pastors or “Under-Shepherds”
who answer directly to Jesus. Jesus is the chief Shepherd of all
“And when the chief
Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Peter 5:4)
Pastors have a very
important role under Jesus, indeed. This office is so important to
both God and man that Jesus Himself actually has ten Shepherd titles!
(Genesis 49:24; Psalm 23:1; 80:1; Ezekiel 34:23; Zechariah 13:7; John
10:2,11,14; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4)
The Pastor’s office
is so vitally important to the Body of Christ. Teaching should be the primary focus
of every Pastor’s Ministry. The Pastor who neglects study and prayer
will not go far with the things of God. Neither will his
congregation. The Apostle Paul told young Pastor Timothy to study so
that all would see God’s stamp of approval upon him. (2Timothy ) Pastors who refuse to do so will
incur a far stricter judgment than the layperson that makes the same
mistake. (James 3:1)
possess a supernatural ability to teach, preach, govern, organize and lead the
flock so smoothly that it appears to be effortless. This is not to
say that local congregations will not have their share of problems.
The local Church is not a museum where perfect saints are put on
display. It is a hospital where the sick come to be made whole.
A true Pastor will roll up his sleeves and by prayer, self-discipline and
example turn a bunch of ragamuffin baby Believers into a mature battalion
of soldiers for Christ! However, this cannot be accomplished in a
congregation that thinks it has the right to tell the Pastor what to do.
This brings us to our next point.
Elders, Deacons and
are under the Pastor, not vice versa. In the New Testament when the
Church was still new, Elders, or older men, were appointed until Pastors
could be trained and equipped. We are not faced with these
circumstances today. So it is wrong to appoint Elders to “oversee”
the Pastor. That was a temporary, fledgling form of Church government
intended only to get the Church on its feet. Today, Elders and Deacons are to free the
Pastor up for study, prayer, teaching, preaching and Ministry by taking
care of the material and physical needs of the congregation. (Acts 6:1-6)
The Pastor is the Bishop/Overseer of
the congregation. The Pastor does not fall on his face before the
Elders, Deacons and congregation and say, “Tell me your will and I’ll tell
the Lord.” The Pastor falls on his face before the Lord and says, “Tell me Your will and I’ll see that they
all perform it, Sir!”
“The Pastor who
follows his sheep ends up with doo-doo on his feet.” This is a very
profound statement, indeed, from the lips of my former Pastor, Dr. Lester
Sumrall. Pastors are to lead with authority, not follow with
timidity. The Pastor also unashamedly feeds the Church God’s Holy
Word, not book reports based on current events. (Acts ) Also, any Teacher in the local
Church is to serve under the Pastor’s authority.
The Pastor’s office
is a holy and supernatural office. (1 Timothy 3:1-16) It is one of
the most important jobs in the entire world. Pastors are not to refer
their congregations to psychiatrists or psychologists. Pastors should
operate in the Revelation Gifts to set their people free. These are
the Word of Knowledge,
the Word of Wisdom and the Discerning of Spirits.
The Church is not a
referral agency. Pastors are authorized agents of the Lord Jesus
Christ. When they step out by faith on the Holy Spirit’s leading, to
set individuals free, He’ll make them look good every time!
should take excellent care of their Pastor. By doing so, God will
take care of them. It is shameful when a Pastor has to work a job
just to pay his bills when his congregation is large enough to support him
materially. Although the Pastor is not to be a “hireling,” he must be
free. Free to pray, seek God, study and to be available to his people
at all times. (1Corinthians 9:1-14; 1Timothy ,18)
All of the Five-fold
Ministry offices must live clean, dignified lives well above
reproach. However, the Pastor must be particularly zealous
here. The Pastor is like the Daddy of a family. Whatever he
allows into his own life is going to come into his house. Whatever comes
into his house is going to get into his family.
The Pastor who
involves himself immorally is going to have problems with rampant
immorality within his congregation. The same is true with alcohol,
lying, wrath, unforgiveness, etc. The
congregation is hooked in spiritually to the Pastor’s intravenous
needle. Whatever the Pastor opens himself up to trickles down into
his people. This is why the Pastor must live a life above
reproach. The devil knows he doesn’t have to obey anyone who is
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers and laypersons, is
required to submit to a Pastor. This is God’s order of
government. The Pastor is the head of the local Church and everyone
is to be a part of a local Church somewhere. (Ephesians 4:11-14)
I am not saying
that every local Church should have an Apostle, a Prophet, an Evangelist
and a Teacher. That is not true. What I am saying is that
everyone, even the other Ministry offices, should have a Pastor.
There are no exceptions to this. The most effective Five-fold
Ministers in the Earth have Pastors whom they can call upon.
It is also my
personal opinion that every Pastor should submit to the Prophet’s Ministry, as well. Not
that the Prophet should have the right to come and take control of the
Pastor’s Church. That would be wrong. The Pastor is the only
Under-Shepherd of his Church. However, the Pastor should have a
Prophet/Teacher to whom he listens and from whom he receives. This is
because the New Testament Church is still being established upon the
offices of the Apostle and Prophet. (Ephesians 2:19-22; 3:5) Prophets
bring revelation right out of the Scriptures supernaturally. The
Pastor/Teacher’s job is to pick up on it, develop it and impart it to the
ultimately give account for how they treated their Pastors. (Romans ; 2Corinthians ) A Pastor
simply cannot do his job properly when the majority of his people are
running around from Church to Church doing their own selfish thing.
Dig in and support your Pastor when it is easy and when it is hard.
I said it in this
article previously, but I am going to say it again in closing.
takes care of individuals who take care of their Pastors. The
congregation should always be looking for what the Pastor and his family
need. Meet their natural needs and God will meet your needs
supernaturally. A wise congregation will pay for their Pastor to
attend special meetings throughout the year, over and above his
vacation. Pastors need refreshing, too, you know. A really wise
congregation will buy the Pastor and his wife a new suit of clothes to go
to those special meetings.
Would you like to
get in really tight with God? Take good care of your Pastor. I
am not talking about kissing up to him either. That will just get you
in trouble. I am talking about honoring him and esteeming him highly.