What are the responsibilities of a pastor?

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  • Author James Rondinone
  • Published June 7, 2022
  • Word count 5,038

PART 7 THE CHURCH OF GOD OR CHURCH OF MAN

6

WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PASTOR?                                      

So, when looking for a pastor, is there anything else that we should know about them? Yes, there’s one more thing. And that’s what their duties are. Do they line up with Scripture? Let’s find out what they are. We’ll begin in the book of Ephesians.

Suggested Reading: Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Before we begin, I’d like you to take a look at the words pastors and teachers. Some believe that these indicate two separate offices, one of a pastor and the other being that of a teacher. However, these actually refer to one leadership position of pastor-teacher. Why is this the case? Well, this has to do with how certain parts of the text relate to each other.

According to Koine Greek, there’s a rule called Granville Sharps. What this tells us is that if two nouns are in the same case, i.e., either nominative (subject), genitive (of possession), dative (indirect object), or accusative (direct object), whereby in this instance, they’re both in the accusative and are connected by a particle (conjunction) along with the initial noun being preceded by a definite article (the) while the second noun doesn’t have one, then they’re considered synonymous, i.e., are the same.

In this verse, the word pastor is preceded by the word some, which in Greek is a definite article (the – tous). And the word teachers are preceded by the particle and with no definite article. Therefore, both nouns pertain to the same office. I know that this was a lot of minutiae, but sometimes that’s the way it has to be.

    

With that said, let’s study to find out what some of the functions of a pastor-teacher are?

And by the way, if different sections of Scripture talk about the same characteristics, then I’ll only include one of the passages in the study. Please begin by turning your Bible to the book of Acts.

Acts 13:1

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

What we know about this church is that the disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at this location called Antioch in Acts 11:26. Mentioned here are the various leadership titles held by certain of the assembly. Some of them were called prophets, and others were called teachers. The word teachers (didaskaloi) refer to believers who, with the special assistance of the Holy Spirit, had the responsibility of introducing the Christian converts to the beliefs and duties of the Christian faith.45 And by the way, this is the same Greek word for teachers that was found in Ephesians 4:11, except that these nouns are in different cases.

What we’ll take a look at next is what the pastor should be especially mindful of both for themselves and the congregation. We’ll also be introduced to something else that might be brought in from those both outside and inside the church that will try to bring about disunity and division along with the spiritual medicine that should be digested by the faithful saints in order to protect themselves from this poison. Please stay in the same book but go to chapter 20.

 

Suggested Reading: Acts 20:3-21:4

17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.        

28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

The Apostle Paul was conversing with the elders from the church at Ephesus in a place called Miletus. He reminded them that the Holy Spirit had made them overseers (one who examines, looks after, or inspects not only their own but also another’s spiritual state). And as such, they were described as those who feed the church of God. The word feed means to tend or lead others to some condition. It can also mean protecting, guiding, and guarding it46 (the church).

29-30 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them   

And then he conveys to them that after he departs from their company, there will arise grievous wolves (false teachers who feed themselves) that will come in from the outside, not sparing (whose intent was to kill and destroy) the flock along with those from within their own selves (from within the church), men (under the influence of ambition, or from the love of power or popularity47) speaking perverse things (doctrines of immorality and asceticism - that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing self-denial48; doctrines that interrupt internal prosperity; doctrines teaching for truth what is erroneous in itself, and perversive of the genuine doctrine of Christ crucified49) in order to cause disciples to follow after them and join their heresy.                                                                                                                                                                                   

31-32 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.                                                                      

He further instructed them to watch (be alert) and keep these instructions constantly in their mind as a model that they should do well to imitate, in that over a period of three years, he warned them (to put sense before the mind) night and day (continuously). And that it would be through preaching and the ministry of the Holy Spirit that they would be built up (applied to a house which is raised and completed by slow degrees, and by toil; to establish in doctrine and in hope). The Word of God which was delivered would be able to confirm and establish them amidst the dangers to which they would be exposed in order to make them heirs [or joint] partakers with the saints of the blessings in reserve for the children of God.50         

What we’ll find out next is another responsibility of a pastor. This one has to do with what they should proclaim to those who don’t know the Lord. We’ll find out what this is all about in the book of Romans.

Suggesting Reading: Romans 10:13-14

14bc …and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

These verses claim that in order for an unbeliever to be saved (redemption or deliverance from sin and misery, and the enjoyment of peace and happiness), initially, there must be someone who announces [to them] the gospel message.51 This person can be any believer. However, when the local assembly gathers together, this proclamation is usually made by one of the church leaders. 

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 

The Scriptures indicate that in the proclamation of the gospel message, a pronouncement should be made to the hearers that are unsaved to acknowledge themselves as being a sinner and expressing a desire to turn from their sinful ways. This is referred to as repentance. In this regard, a pastor might declare before the assembly the following words.

If anyone would like to begin anew and have a relationship with the one true God, then repeat these words.

I acknowledge that I’ve sinned in many areas such as slandering others; having sexual relations outside of marriage; being jealous; having participated in alcohol or drug abuse; having sex with others of the same gender; having committed adultery; having taken money from others in a deceitful manner; having committed rape; having engaged in pedophilia; etc.

I don’t want to continue in these mental, verbal, and overt sins. I need a new nature.

Romans 10:14a How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?...

The second condition is to believe in Jesus Christ as to who He is and what He has accomplished. This has nothing to do with what you can do for God, but this is simply believing in His Son.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This belief is expressed by calling upon the name of the Lord in prayer. The words of the prayer which follows can either be spoken silently or out loud.

I believe in you Jesus Christ, as one of the members of the Trinity, being deity (having a divine nature), who as God pre-existed time; came to the earth and took on the form of a man, being born of a virgin (no sin nature); lived a sinless life; listened to and obeyed the directives of his Father; went to the cross and paid for the penalty of and forgave the sins of the whole world; rose from the dead after three days, never to die again, walked the earth in His resurrection body for forty days witnessing to over five hundred people, and ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father.

1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?                 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The result of this prayer is that this person will receive another member of the Trinity, known as the Holy Spirit, who will come into their physical body to indwell, thus imparting to them a new nature along with many other spiritual benefits. If the gospel isn’t preached, then there will be no receiving of divine life, no personal relationship with God, no experience of divine power, no understanding of spiritual truth, and no guidance and leading from the Holy Spirit.

What else we can find out about a pastor’s performance is found in the book of 1 Corinthians. We looked at this earlier in this study as one of the qualifications of someone seeking the office of a pastor, but on this occasion, we’ll take a more in-depth look at it.

Suggested Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-13:1

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

28-29 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

The Apostle Paul was giving instructions to the believers at the church in Corinth concerning the non-leadership spiritual gifts of knowledge, wisdom, etc., at least one of which was given to each believer. He goes on to mention a different kind of gift known as leadership office gifts, one of which in particular is teachers. And by the way, not every believer is called to an appointment to church authority.

What the word teachers conveys to us is that some of their engagements are that they’ll emphasize [the] accuracy of words and a love to study. They’ll delight in research to validate truth.52 And they’ll give instruction in the Christian faith of truths already revealed and written down.             

What we’ll learn next about the duties of pastors is what it means for them to be over the assembly and admonish it. These truths are found in the book of 1 Thessalonians.

                                                           

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13                                     

12a And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you,…                                                                                             

Paul was instructing the believers at Thessalonica to know (respect and obey; not to be ignorant of their needs or to be indifferent to53) those, who are in the leadership positions of the church that labour (wearisome toil) among them unless it’s obvious that they were out of God’s will. These were believers who worked hard to provide pastoral care for the flock, probably in their spare time [since,] in the early church, local church leaders often carried full-time jobs outside the church.54 Even though the words elders or pastors aren’t used in these verses, it’s believed that this was the title being referred to here.        

12b …and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;                                                                                                                                                                                

These leaders were also mentioned as being over (presiding over) them under the direction of the Lord, and admonishing (put the assembly in mind of the truth; to warn them of danger; to exhort them to perform their duty; to admonish if they go astray55) them.

13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.                                                                                             

Likewise, the assembly of believers are implored to esteem (honor) them very highly in love for their work’s sake so long as they gave God the glory.

A pastor’s obligations aren’t easy. Putting the assembly in mind of the truth can offend many, especially when conviction comes because some don’t want to hear about sin and restoration. For certain pastors, the easy way to get around this is to ignore any teaching on it, which allows the members to live the same way as they did before they were saved. While they claim to be born again, and they very well could be, there’s no evidence of the new life they profess to have received.

In the next verse, from the book of 1 Timothy, we’ll find out what the pastor should give attendance to.

 

1 Timothy 4:13

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.     

Timothy was instructed by the Apostle Paul to give attendance (to keep putting his mind on; to devote himself):

To reading - the public reading of Scripture.

To exhortation - the explanation of the [Scripture] passages that are read, making their meaning and relevance clear to the gathered congregation.56

To doctrine - the act of teaching a systematized body of teaching.

What else pastors should be known for is that they should rule well and labour. We can find out what these words are all about by staying in the same book and proceeding to the next chapter.

1 Timothy 5:17

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

In some churches, there were many pastors. However, it’s possible that not every one of them could devote themselves to the local assembly, as some of the others, because of the obligations of work and family. Those who were able to rule well (manage the spiritual interests of the church) should be counted worthy (deserving) of double honor (deserving of recognition), especially those who labour (with wearisome effort) in the word (of proclaiming the message) and doctrine (directed at believers, making clear to them what Christians should believe and the implications of their faith for their lives57; [categorical (topical) instruction and explanatory (verse by verse) teaching58]).   

By the way, I’ve heard some suggest that the words double honor mean getting paid double the money, or as we could say, getting paid adequately on the basis of their ministries.59 If this were a possible rendering, I’d agree with the latter idea that those in leadership should receive the appropriate financial compensation based on their involvement.

What we’ll take a look at next is an area of the ministry that pastors need to be on active alert about.

 

1 Timothy 1:18-19

18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

At this time, in the Ephesian church, the Apostle Paul was aware that false teachers had crept in that were teaching doctrines contrary to the gospel itself.60 Having brought Timothy there to address this issue, he reminded him of the prophecies that were unveiled concerning him beforehand, which proclaimed that his ministry was approved by God. And, in this regard, there were two things that he needed to hold onto in order to persevere in this endeavor.

19a Holding faith, and a good conscience;…

The first one was holding faith (sound doctrine). This is another way of saying that as to the truth, he was to live according to its dictates, that a good conscience may be ever preserved.61 Likewise, if a pastor applies pertinent truth to his life in all circumstances, then the second thing, a good conscience (honestly following what is right), would be developed.

19b …which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

However, if decisions are made by any spiritual leader or believer that accepts false teachings which promote the leadings of passions and indulging in carnal propensities, then the faith they had chosen to rely on initially would be destroyed. If this were the case, then the following statement holds true. Bad doctrine usually starts with bad conduct, and usually with secret sin.62

Another aspect of the ministry of a pastor is they should know how to deal with believers that have aligned themselves with false teachers or false teachings. Please go to the book of 2 Timothy.

 

2 Timothy 2:24-26

24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

Timothy was instructed by Paul not to strive (not to be harsh or cruel) but be gentle (in demeanor), apt (ready and skilled) to teach, and patient (to endure any difficulty without complaining).

25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

And if there were those that oppose themselves (who’ve placed themselves in opposition to the servant of the Lord and true doctrine by aligning themselves with false teachers) that he, Timothy, In meekness (humility) should instruct them (by reproof (rebuke) and admonition (a warning or mild criticism to correct some fault63)64 with the hope that God would give them such a view of the error which they have embraced, and such regret for having embraced it,65 that they would repent to the acknowledging (embracing) of the precise and correct knowledge of the truth.

26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

So that they may recover themselves (come to a right mind; to no longer think wrong thoughts) out of the snare (of false teachings; of the allurements to sin) of the devil, who has held them captive (bound to do his will).

The next charge of a pastor that we’ll take a look at is described in words that, for many of us, when we hear them, it might cause us to have a different connotation (secondary meaning). A book of the Bible that, for some reason, I haven’t done much research from, i.e., the book of Titus, is where we’ll proceed next.

    

Titus 2:7-8

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.                                                                                         

The Apostle Paul instructed Titus to show a pattern of good works in his life. When I read this, the first thing that came to mind was that a pastor should be someone that does good things for people. Buy food for a family in need. Council them, when needed. Help pay a bill that they’re delinquent on. But to my surprise, these words mean something entirely different. The words good works in this context have to do with the many facets of doctrine (one’s manner of teaching) that should be comprised of godly integrity.

The first feature in one’s manner of teachings is uncorruptness. This means that the elements of his teaching should include honesty, sincerity, and purity of motivation.66 Something else is that it [shouldn’t] corrupt or vitiate (to impair the quality of67) the morals of others. Everything in his teaching was to be such as to make men purer and better.68

The next component is gravity. This has to do with having an acquaintance with the subject (biblical topic) at hand. It also implies that in the manner [in] which a message is delivered insures respect, in character, opinions, [and] deportment69 (conduct).

The next ingredient is sincerity. This has to do with the reality that his life is a representation of his doctrine in morals.70 It also means that a pastor is someone whose character [isn’t], and cannot be, corrupted.71            

The final detail is sound speech that cannot be condemned. This teaching is one that’s accurate and spiritually helpful. It’s also such that nothing said is [rash] or reprehensible, or that can give [offense] or cause the ministry to be blamed.72     

I don’t know about you, but that was extremely informative. 

The next few verses will be taken from the book of 1 Peter and they’ll inform us as to what a pastor’s duties and attitude should be concerning certain aspects of the ministry.

 

1 Peter 5:1-3

1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

The Apostle Peter was addressing the many pastors who were overseeing various churches scattered throughout different countries. The first thing he asked them to be engaged in was to feed the flock. The word feed means to implement all duties and responsibilities a shepherd has for his flock.73 He goes on to say that their oversight (a spiritual and physical guardianship74 (care); to see their needs and provide what they require) shouldn’t be by constraint (the idea of doing something by force, necessity, or compulsion)75 but rather willingly (gladly; as a work which you love).

And then, he mentions another characteristic that shouldn’t be prevalent in a pastor, which is a hot topic today. He shouldn’t discharge his ministry for filthy lucre (in accepting a job purely for monetary considerations;76 for disgraceful gain, becoming such if [it’s] made the motive of the minister’s service) but of a ready mind (from the promptings of love).77

3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

And finally, a pastor should neither be as being lords over God’s heritage (those who are put in their care). The word lords mean someone who exercises an unreasonable use of power with bad intention. They are those, who like little kings or dictators, constantly shout orders over the body of believers. But rather, they should be ensamples to the flock. The word ensamples means that they’re those who imitate the character of Christ in their lives. Their authority is expressed from the influence of reason, persuasion, and example.78 They lead others by their examples of mature Christian character.79

There are a few other things to know about a pastor that they should exemplify in their duties and character, as the Apostle Paul reminded Timothy. Please turn in your Bible to the book of 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 4:12

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Paul encouraged Timothy to keep on becoming an example (model) to the assembly of believers, which hopefully would be imitated or followed by them in these various aspects of his life.

In word - teach nothing but the truth of [God] because nothing but that will save souls.80 This also includes speech that’s honest and loving.

In conversation – in his walk, behavior, or manner of life (actions) that were to be controlled by the Word of God.

In charity - the motivation of his life should emanate from God’s love. It’s a love [that] impels the one loving to sacrifice himself for the benefit of the person loved.81

In spirit - inner enthusiasm and excitement in whatever is done.

In faith - in all [trials,] show to believers by your [example] how they ought to maintain unshaken confidence in God.82 Along with this, be faithful to thy trust, to thy flock, to thy domestics, to the public, to thy God. … [Honestly] keeping, preserving, and delivering up when required, [whatever] is [entrusted] to [your] care; as also in improving whatever is delivered in trust for that purpose.83

In purity - an upright and morally blameless life, and specifically as referring to being free from any immoral acts, especially acts related to sex.84

Well, we’ve covered quite a few sections of Scripture that have helped us get a clearer view as to the responsibilities as a pastor. I have one final group of verses for us to look at. I think that these spells out what should be considered the most important outcomes for any church. Please turn to the book of Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:11-13

11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ultimately, what godly leadership should strive for are seven things. Are you ready to find out what these are all about?

The first is the perfecting of the saints. The word perfecting means equipping someone or something so that it might serve the purpose or do the work for which it was brought into being.85 The word equipping means to furnish or provide with whatever is needed for use.86 So, what do we need to be provided with? We need to be provided with instruction that will be useful in correcting all [that’s] deficient87 in our lives.

The second thing is the work of the ministry. This is another way of saying for the work of Christian service. In what manner? Those in leadership should train the believers, given in their care, in the art of winning souls and of teaching and preaching the Word.88

Thirdly, for the edifying of the body of Christ. The church is edified through the instruction of divine things for the purpose of promoting their spiritual lives.

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Fourth, until all are brought into the unity of the faith. This is a state in which faith in the Son of God shall characterize all.89

Fifth, until all are brought into the knowledge of the Son of God. This refers to the church not only having the correct and precise knowledge of Christ but also experiencing His power.

Sixth, so that every believer becomes a perfect man, i.e., a spiritually mature man.

Seventh, until all are brought into the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, i.e., where everyone becomes fully mature with the sum of the qualities which make Christ what He is.90

Wow! What a way to end this chapter. That was enlightening and comprehensive.

As I’m sure, you’re aware that we’ve been presented with a lot of information about the leadership office of a pastor when choosing the right church to attend and remain in both in this chapter and the preceding ones. I’ll admit, what we’ve gathered can be overwhelming. So, what should we do with all this data so that it can be used in a somewhat simplistic manner?

You might be thinking, how do I begin sorting out all that has been presented in this study? This is where I come in. Leave that to me. What I’ll try and do is compile a checklist that contains verifiable godly indicators for ordination and verifiable ungodly indicators that would disqualify someone for ordination. This same concept can be applied when your deciding whether to remain in the church you are attending or might attend.

But, before I present what I’ll call a checklist or the Bible rating for choosing a pastor to co-labor with, we have one more study to undertake. And this has to do with this question. What are the indicators that would disqualify someone for an appointment to the church hierarchy? While we’ve already accumulated quite a bit of information that would support such, subsequently, this will help us in determining what is contrary or unacceptable for acceptance. Sometimes what is contradictory isn’t always easy to disseminate.

So, in the next chapter, we’ll take a look at what constitutes ungodly teachings and character.

                                                                                

Website: http://bit.ly/1RQnYJ8          

Endnotes

45Calvin.

46Barnes.

47Barnes.

48Dictionary.com.

49Adam Clarke.

50Barnes.

51Adam Clarke.

52Motivational Gifts.

53Barnes.

54Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.

55Barnes.

56UBS New Testament.

57UBS New Testament.

58The Pulpit.

59The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.

60UBS.

61Adam Clarke.

62The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.

63Dictionary.com.

64Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 19 January 2022 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

65Barnes.

66UBS.

67Dictionary.com.                                                                                  

68Barnes.

69Barnes.

70Calvin.

71Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005. BIBLESOFT.

WEB. 19 January 2022

˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

72The Pulpit.

73Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.

74Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.

75UBS.

76UBS.

77Barnes.

78Barnes.

79The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.

80Adam Clarke.           

81Weust.

82Barnes.         

83Adam Clarke.                 

84UBS.                 

85Weust.

86Dictionary.com.

87Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown.

88Weust.

89The Pulpit.

90Weust.

My name is James Rondinone.

I grew up in Massachusetts and began my own spiritual journey early on in life.

I attended Bible college, having completed a two-year Christian Leadership course of study, and graduated as valedictorian (summa cum laude).

I’ve written and published a number of spiritual books on various biblical topics.

These books can be found online.

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