Pastors* are to humbly, prayerfully, and courageously lead and shepherd people toward these ends. They are called to proclaim the gospel, nurture those God has entrusted to their care, equip them to proclaim the gospel as well, and labor to present everyone mature and complete in Jesus Christ. The pastor’s primary work includes praying, preaching and teaching God’s Word, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, and entrusting the gospel and all that grows from it to faithful men that they may teach others also. In addition, pastors are to be called, seasoned, and biblically qualified men. In sum, men who are above reproach are to serve the church in their praying, gospel proclamation, ministry of the Word, equipping of the saints, and entrusting of the gospel to others. There are additional duties given to pastors in the New Testament. However, gospel proclamation, the ministry of the Word, prayer, administering the sacred ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and equipping believers for the work of ministry are the central tasks of pastoral ministry.**
All of this provokes a critical question: How can pastors most faithfully embrace their high calling? How are they to lead people and churches given the duties and character requirements Scripture prescribes? While most evangelical pastors would agree with the paragraph above, their personal distinctives result in different leadership, culture, and outcomes in the churches they serve. In the following post, I will share the personal distinctives that impact my ministry as clearly as I can.
* The biblical plan for leadership in the local church is for a plurality of elders to serve and oversee the church. One or more of those elders may be “worthy of double honor” and function as the first among equals, thus the distinction between lay and vocational elders. The function and role of vocational and non-vocational elders will vary in keeping calling, gifting, availability, and experience. However, the plurality of elders in a church is to lead the church as a team, as one whole. For the sake of simplicity, I have primarily used the terms “pastor” or “pastors” in this document, but the phrases “pastor and elder” or “pastors and elders” could have been used instead.
** Relevant passages of Scripture include Acts 20:18-21, 1 Peter 5:1-4, 2 Timothy 4:1-8, 1 Thessalonians 2:2, Ephesians 4:11-13, Colossians 1:27-29, Acts 6:4, Ephesians 4:11-12, 2 Timothy 2:2, Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9.
This series lays out my understanding of the church’s purpose and mission. It is drawn from my philosophy of ministry, available here.