Work of the Pastor

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Most books on church growth and leadership today argue that if pastors continue to do what pastors have done for so many years, they will fail. Greg Ogden, in Unfinished Business , 1 proposes that the pastor should be a visionary leader who constantly builds other leaders, casts the vision, and changes the culture and structure of the church, while doing all of this with an eye for mission, evangelism, and growth.

However fresh, insightful, and useful, both these ideas are weak theologically. The old model of a servant caregiver does not lend itself to growth, but creates a culture of people dependent upon the pastor, a role utterly inconsistent with the biblical principles of the priesthood of all believers. It also encourages people to focus on their needs and thus hinders the growth of the kingdom of God. Most of the church growth books are basically books about leadership models adapted to the church.

But, many dangers lurk behind this model. First, it might lead people to follow a charismatic personality rather than biblical principles. Second, this new model also focuses on the needs of the local church to the exclusion of the global church. The emphasis of this model, and this should be noted, becomes the building of a megachurch rather than building a healthy church. Finally, any model we adapt needs biblical and theological development. The role of the pastor should be based on a biblical model and have a strong theological foundation. The answer can be found in the ministry of Jesus.

The New Testament account reveals that Jesus did five things: 1 Jesus built His relationship with His Father, 2 He preached the gospel of the kingdom of God, 3 He met the needs of people, 4 He made disciples through the power of the Spirit, and 5 He gave His life as a sacrifice. These are the keys to true biblical ministry. Over and over, the Scriptures show us that Jesus placed the highest priority of His life on spending time alone with the Father.

His life reveals an intense passion for the presence of God. His heart longed and hungered to touch the heart of God. Jesus lived a life of prayer. He started every day in communion with the heavenly Father. He ended every day in close relationship with His Father. At times, He even spent the whole night in communion with His Father.

What Is a Pastor's Job?

Jesus actually was in touch with His heavenly Father all the time. The first thing that Jesus did each day was to fill the well of His being with the presence of His Father; He then lived with heaven in mind all day long. He managed His time by moving from being to behaving.

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His being was about being in union with the Father and experiencing the joy of His Sonship. And His doing was about doing the will of the Father. This made His doing so effective as He received grace and power from the Father.

The Work of The Pastor by William Still

He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer. Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day.

Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.

When the pastor lives a life of prayer like Jesus and becomes intentional about discipleship and spiritual formation, God will use them to transform the church into a sanctuary for spiritually transformed lives. He did not say that His church should be a place of singing or preaching or doing ministry, however important these things may be. The church is about leading people to the throne of grace to experience the presence of God and receive power from Him.

Unfortunately, too many technicians have invaded the church with programs and ideas and turned it into a human institution rather than the living body of Christ. When we live a life of connectedness with the heavenly Father, the church becomes a sanctuary of prayer, grace, and the dwelling of the presence of God. The ministry of the Word always leads people to transformed lives. There is power in the Word. The word of God brought this world into existence. The word brought Jesus Christ from the grave.

And the Word brings us back to spiritual health and meaningful change.


From an early age, Jesus developed passionate love for the Scriptures. He learned them and taught them with power and authority Luke — The pastor should always lead people to a better understanding of the Word of God. Notice the following vital spiritual things that the Word does for us. So often we reduce Scripture to mere information. Paul reminds us that the Scriptures give us a new life in Jesus. It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied, but to have a new heart.

You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things. Until this change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good for you to discuss with Me My authority or My mission. We need spiritual renewal more than knowledge. We must study the Bible, not for curiosity, but for a new heart. That encapsulates the essence of the power of the Word. Jesus did not preach sociology, politics, or psychology; He always preached the Word. For this reason, He had power and authority. Jesus loved people. He knew that lost people matter to God, therefore, lost people mattered to Him.

I know, but I need regular reminding. Second, it convicted me of the temptations that I face regularly in ministry.

How Your Career Could Crush You // Ask Pastor John with Tim Keller

Still never knew me, but he does: he knows the temptations that every pastor faces, and he speaks to them because he was one of us. Change the figure: this is sacrificial power, and you will have to die to release its truth into human hearts. It pulsates with energy. Every minister should read it once a year—at least! The pastor is called to feed the sheep, even if the sheep do not want to be fed.

He is certainly not to become an entertainer of goats. Let goats entertain goats, and let them do it out in goatland. You will certainly not turn goats into sheep by pandering to their goatishness. Do we really believe that the Word of God, by His Spirit, changes, as well as maddens men? If we do, to be evangelists and pastors, feeders of sheep, we must be men of the Word of God.

The traditional and contemporary roles of the pastor

To be a pastor of the sheep, a feeder of the Word to others, you must be fed yourself … To be true pastors, your whole life must be spent in knowing the truth of this Word, not only verbally, propositionally, theologically, but religiously, that is, devotionally, morally, in worshipping Him whom it reveals, and in personal obedience to Him whose commands it contains, in all the promised grace and threat of those commands.

There is nothing so boring, stale, flat and unprofitable as holy things retailed in the absence of the Spirit. When you are sure of your calling as pastors and teachers, then you must be wholly geared to that life. This involves, first, the building up of your own faith by feeding on the Word of God; then obeying it; so that you may make your sole task in life to teach the whole Word of God to your flock. If you are not interested in the problems of sincere, ongoing Christians you ought not to be in the work of ministry at all. Next to the ministry of the Word, the most fruitful pastoral duty is to help all sorts of odd sheep to live together, and show them how to live in the world amongst goats without becoming goats.

If we are not prepared to suffer and suffering is not fun nor is it meant to be fun , we shall not reign. The two belong together … Hurt and fruit, death and life, sorrow and joy. They belong together, as manure belongs to a fruitful garden. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Welcome to DashHouse. I also write a column for The Gospel Coalition Canada. The contents of the book are simple: Chapter one outlines the main task of pastors: to feed the sheep including, sometimes, to evangelize the goats.