The office of Pastor was established by God. We should look to Him in determining our expectations on what role the pastor should serve in our churches. God has made very clear what he expects of the office of pastor: “the instruction of sound doctrine and to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus1:9). Many churches have very different expectations of their shepherd. Sometimes all problems of a church are laid at his feet. However, if numbers are dwindling, if the coffers are empty, if the baptismal is dry then that says more about the congregation than the pastor. He should encourage us in these duties but biblically they are our responsibility not his. A preacher’s biblical mandate is the spiritual health of his flock if he gets distracted and focused on the lost or unchurched then he will naturally direct his sermon as though that is his audience. This can lead to trying to “keep it real” or “edgy” with pop culture references, worldly messages and secular parables. He will focus on trying to show that christians are still fallen creatures instead of calling everyone to repentance in kingdom citizenship. He will try to foster a sense of “we Christians are just like you” instead of encouraging Christians to be the “called out” new creatures that the bible says we are. The mistake is trying to foster a secular common ground with the sinful world in order to make a connection instead of preaching the truth of our new nature and relying on the Holy Spirit for conviction. The message of our need for repentance is the true common ground and its not popular or easy to hear. It is the simple truth.
The purpose of a pastor is not to win more people to Christ. Well, he should actually be sharing the word of God with the lost but as a believer not as a pastor. We are all called to share the gospel of Christ as believers (Mk16:15). By loving God with all our heart and soul and mind and loving each other as ourselves, how could we do anything less: than share the good news of Christ, the forgiveness and the reconciliation with God that is available through Jesus. The blessing of sharing the gospel is not something that is reserved for an office of the church. We should not be inviting people to church so that they might be saved by the Pastor. No! We should introduce them to Jesus himself! He is salvation! There is no longer a need for a mediator that is essentially the Gospel message. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts (Acts17:11), the Father that gives faith in order to believe and this comes by hearing the very word of God (Rom10:17). So it is the Son, the Father, the Holy Spirit that brings people to Christ not the Pastor. We can share that with anyone and hopefully everyone! A pastor focused on the lost will tend to preach shallow sermons and ignore the call to a deepening relationship. He will push for programs to be focused on community outreach and teaching how to spread the gospel and deemphasize discipleship and spiritual growth.
The purpose of the pastor is not to reach the unchurched believers. Again we should all be loving one another and in that love inviting other believers to come worship and fellowship with us. But ultimately it is our blessing to come together and we are even encouraged not to deny ourselves that blessing. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting” (means calling and inviting) “one another” -Heb 10:23-25. Here again we see the command to grow our numbers not on the pastor but on us as individuals by encouraging each other to come together for fellowship, to invite and call other believers to join in with us and our gathering for fellowship.
The purpose of the pastor is clearly defined in Eph 4:11-16 “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” The greek word for pastor is poimen and it means shepherd. These shepherds are prophesied in Jer5:15 “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Notice that their purpose is included even in the prophecy. It is the pastor that should be teaching us to go out and how to effectively share the gospel that we have received. The pastor is a blessing to the church, a gift it says in Eph 4. God really loves his church. He calls it a blessing and he has made provisions for it. One of these provisions is the blessing of a pastor. Someone to teach the word of God to feed the flock knowledge and understanding. He is to grow the flock in a deeper relationship with Christ and lead them into eternal life by an ever richer knowing of God. It is a beautiful thing for which I am very grateful.