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the duties of a pastor

The duties of a pastor are varied, but they generally include:

  • Leading the congregation in worship and prayer
  • Preaching to the congregation, interpreting scripture and offering guidance to believers
  • Answering questions about religious beliefs or practices
  • Leading the congregation in service projects and outreach programs, such as soup kitchens or disaster relief efforts

What does a pastor do?

By pastor, the Bible means “elder” or “overseer.” Here are lists of answers from various sources:

D. A. Carson (For the Love of God, vol. 1, [Crossway: 1998] Nov. 2):

  • Feed (as a shepherd)
  • Defend (as a shepherd)
  • Guide (as a shepherd)
  • Discipline (as a shepherd)
  • Be mature (as an elder)
  • Be respected (as an elder)
  • Oversee (as an overseer)
  • Godly manage (as an overseer)
  • Hold in spiritual accountability (as an overseer)

Mark Dever (The Deliberate Church, [Crossway: 2005], 89-95):

  • Practitioner of the marks (preaching, administering the ordinances)
  • Teaching
  • Meet with staff
  • Be disciplined and stick to a workable schedule
  • Graze – feed the flock
  • Guide – direct, model, equip, and keep the flock
  • Guard – from false teachers and false teaching
  • The 4 P’s (from chapter 1) – preaching, prayer, personal discipleship relationships, and patience

Benjamin Griffith (1743):

  1. Preach God’s Word
  2. Watch over every member of the flock (emphasis mine)
  3. Visit the flock to know their state.
  4. Administer the ordinances (Baptism and Lord’s Supper)
  5. Pray for them
  6. Model Christlikeness

Lig Duncan’s job description as “Senior Minister”:

  1. Preach the Word
  2. Love the People
  3. Pray Down Heaven
  4. Promote Family Religion
  5. Train the Elders
  6. Under those 5, it is to live a godly life

Mark Driscoll’s list of duties for the elders-pastors (from Vintage Church, [Crossway: 2008], 72):

  1. Praying and studying Scripture
  2. Ruling/leading the church
  3. managing the church
  4. caring for people in the church
  5. giving account to God for the church
  6. living exemplary lives
  7. rightly using the authority God has given them
  8. teaching the Bible correctly
  9. preaching
  10. praying for the sick
  11. teaching sound doctrine and refuting false teachings
  12. working hard
  13. rightly using money and power
  14. protecting the church from false teachers
  15. disciplining unrepentant Christians
  16. obeying the secular laws as the legal ruling body of a corporation
  17. developing other leaders and teachers

PJ Tibayan (My list on the pastor-elder-overseer’s role):

  1. Prayerfully teach God’s Word
  2. Oversee the whole flock and each individual member’s spiritual good
  3. Equip the church for the work of ministry
  4. Model godly Christian living and love for Christ

John Piper’s take on the function of Elders:

  1. Governing
  2. Teaching

This list is staggering, convicting, and clarifying. It staggers me to think about the weight of the responsibility God has on the pastor for his church. It is convicting because I see how I personally have failed. I want to pray and improve and grow in putting more of my time into teaching/preaching responsibilities, meeting with my small group leaders and training new teachers. I want to get more involved in knowing the lives of the students in my church. I also want to be in better communication with the pastoral team that I serve with, giving them weekly reports of the ministry, even if it is not asked of me. I want to seek their input and evaluation. I also want to pursue those who are straying that God has put under my care. This also clarifies my task. I need to defend the flock, discipline the unrepentant, hold them in spiritual accountability, disciple them, and most of all feed them and point them to the bread of life and living water, Jesus Christ himself.