I’ve heard it a million times - a pastor wears many hats. And I have to confess that I’ve said it too. But scripturally, a pastor’s three biggest responsibilities are as follows: shepherd God’s people (“pastor/shepherd”), administrate the church (“overseer”), and be an example of godly living to all (“elder”). Everything a pastor does fits into those three big hats.
There are pastors all over the world working day and night doing ministry. That’s a good thing. But it’s not a great thing. The greatest churches are filled with regular people doing ministry. Just God-fearing, people-loving men and women who have been trained, resourced, connected, and sent out to do God’s work. All because a pastor prepared them.
“We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Ephesians 4 uses a human body as a metaphor for the church. Jesus is the head and individuals in the church are the members of the body. Of course, it’s all about the head. The lungs inhale, the muscles flex, and the blood flows all for the benefit of the head. The head is the control center, therefore all personality, will, and objectives come from the head. The body exists to bring glory to the head.
There is another specific body part mentioned in this text: the joints. Joints don’t actually DO all that much; they just connect the muscles to the rest of the body. They have no power or muscle, just bones and ligaments. The joints represent pastors in the church.
In other words, as a pastor, my responsibility is to learn your gifting, help you find a way to use the gifts God has given you, and launch you into doing ministry for the head, Jesus. The worst thing I could do as a pastor is spend my entire week doing ministry and serving the church body. My job is to equip… to connect… to bend… so that the members of the church body can do the ministry. Pastors like myself are just the knees and elbows that help you do the heavy lifting.
How a pastor can make a body unhealthy:
- Hire paid staff to do ministry
- Allow able-bodied people to sit idle
How a pastor can make a body healthy:
- Train the members to do ministry
- Provide direction for able-bodied people to serve