The Pastor’s Duties and Responsibilities

For Discussion

  • Does your church have a written job description for what the pastor does?
  • If so, are they biblical/scriptural? Are they reasonable?
  • What unwritten, and perhaps unspoken, expectations do the deacons or elders have for the pastor’s duties and responsibilities?
  • What unwritten, and perhaps unspoken, expectations do church members have for the pastor’s duties and responsibilities?
  • Do your pastor tend to assume duties and responsibilities that perhaps he ought not to take on?
  • Have you ever studied God’s Word to see what duties and responsibilities the Lord has for your minister?

Lesson

A.  After serving God and attending to his life in Christ the pastor or elder then serves others, particularly God’s people.

1.   The pastor or elder serves through self-sacrifice (Jn. 10:11, 15; cp. Lk 10:34,35) as a faithful steward of God’s ministry (1 Cor. 4:1-2; Ti. 1:7), in a manner like Jesus Christ (Matt. 20:25-28; 23:11-12; Mark 10:43,44; Luke 22:26-27; John 13:1-20).

2.   He prays for others (Acts 6:4; Col. 1:9)

a.    His priority is to pray, especially for God’s people (Acts 6:4; Col. 1:9)

b.    He prays for those who are not believers in Christ (1 Tim. 2:1-8)

3.   As an under-shepherd to the Great Shepherd he pastors through God’s Word (Jn. 21:15ff; 1 Pet. 5:1ff); ministering the Word of God (Mk. 6:34b; Rev. 7:17; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Thess. 5:12; Col. 1:28; Jas. 3:1) in a variety of ways. In fact, the bulk and thrust of his labors is in the power of God’s Spirit through the Word of God.

a.   Publicly reading, preaching, explaining and applying Scriptures (1 Cor. 1:17; 1 Tim. 4:13-14)

b.  Preaches in season and out of season reproving, rebuking and exhorting (2 Tim. 4:1-2).

c.  Teaches boldly the Word of God (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 6:34; Acts 20:20; 1 Cor. 12:28, 31; Col. 1:28; 1 Tim. 1:3; 3:2, 16; 4:11-12; 6:2-5; Jas. 3:1; Rev. 7:17) in these and other areas:

(1) Teaching apostolic truth, particularly to faithful men who would teach others the same (2 Tim. 2:2).

(2)  Teaching godliness in Christ (1 Tim. 5:24-6:6)

(3) Teaching older men to be sober, reverent, self-controlled, sound in faith, sound in love, patient (Tit. 2:1-2).

(4)  Teaching the rich to be rich in good works and generosity (1 Tim. 6:17-19).

d.   Feeds God’s people in the Truth (1 Pet. 5:2).

e.   Edifies or builds believers up in Christ (2 Cor. 13:10-11; Eph 4:12-16).

f.   Convicts the contrary (2 Tim. 2:25; Tit. 1:9).

g.   Brings comfort to hearers of the Word (1 Cor. 14:3, 31; 2 Cor. 1:4-6; 1 Thess. 4:18).

h.  Confronts Sin (1 Tim. 5:1-2; Gal. 6:1).

(1) Warning of the consequences of sin (Acts 20:31).

(2) Rebuking sin (2 Tim. 4:1-2; Tit. 1:13; 2:15).

j.   Admonishes wayward believers to obey God’s Word (2 Thess. 3:15).

k.   Exhorts or confronts the opposition with sound doctrine in love (1 Cor. 13:1; Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

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Challenge:

  • Is there a limit to sacrificing yourself under the yoke of ordained ministry?
  • Do the elders and/or God’s people in your church understand those limits?
  • In the Reformed tradition, it is understood that the ministry of the Word of God is of utmost importance in the life of the church.  How is this ministry to be worked out in the church and “balanced” with all the other assigned or expected duties placed upon you?
  • Pastors seem to go from one extreme to another. Some would say that since the ministry of the Word is pivotal and of primary importance the great bulk (85 – 95%) of his time should be in the pastor’s study. What do you think?
  • On the other hand, giving in to current tides in American Christianity, the work in and with the Word has been placed at a low priority. After all, the pastor’s new assignments do not permit him to spend that much time studying, teaching, preaching, etc.  What do you think?

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4.      To train them in spiritual warfare, resisting Satan and calling them to their role as godly warriors (2  Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 6:10-18; Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).

  • What do you think it means to train believers in spiritual warfare?
  • How would you do so?

5.   He delegates administrative tasks of lesser priorities for his vocation to others, such as the deacons in order to concentrate on the ministries of prayer and the Word of God (Act 6:1-7).

6.   The minister’s godly office created by Christ (2 Cor. 3:9; 4:6).  The minister is responsible with other elders in the church to perpetuate the office with sound, godly and faithful men who are gifted, called, and qualified (1 Tim. 1:11; 3:1-7; 4:14).  It must be perpetuated through the laying on of hands by ordained elders of the church (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 14:23; 19:6; 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:6).

7.   He must always keep before him the goal(s) of his God-ordained ministry:

a   To equip the saints to do the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-12) in the faithful exercise of their gifts   (1 Cor. 12; Rom. 12).

b.  To form Jesus Christ in the community of God’s people through love (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21;  4:13; Col 1:224-29; 1 Thess. 3:11-13; 1 Tim. 1:5) until that community is a like one mature man who lives

(1) In the unity of the Faith (Eph. 4:13)

(2) In an intimate full-knowledge of the Son of God, deeply in love with Christ and becoming more like him in every way (Eph. 4:13)

(3)  In truth that is spoken and expressed through love to fellow believers and to the world  (Eph. 4:15).

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Challenge:

  • Does your church have a vision and mission statement? If so, how does it fit with the above?
  • How would keeping before you the biblical goal(s) of a God-ordained ministry affect the ministry?
  • How would keeping before the elders and the congregation the biblical goal(s) of a God-ordained ministry affect the life and operations of your church?

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B.  The pastor’s or elder’s duties are enumerated through the many roles he has:

1.  As a self-sacrificing servant (Matt. 20:27; John 10:11, 15; Lk. 10:34, 35; 1 Cor. 4:1)

a.      Of God (2 Cor. 6:4; Ti. 1:1, 7) and of Christ (Phil. 1:1; 2 Tim. 2:24)

b.      Of God’s people (2 Cor. 4:5)

c.      Who serves God and his church with diligence (Rom. 12:8; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17;  2 Tim. 2:15).

2.  As a loving shepherd of the flock of God (Jer. 3:15; John 21:15ff; Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-2)

a.   Who leads (Mark 6:34) and guides (Matt. 2:6; Acts 7:10, 14; Heb. 3:7, 17, 24)

b.   Who protects (Acts 20:28-30; Jn. 10:12; Ti. 1:9; 2:1; Eph. 4:14; 1 Pet. 5:8; 1 Jn. 4:1-3)

(1) From enemies within (2 Tim. 2:16-18; Jude 12f).

(2)From enemies without (Mt. 13:24f; 2 Cor. 11:12-15).

3.  As a priest, though a believer-priest like all other believers he

a.  Intercedes and prays for God’s people  (e.g.: 1 Sam. 12:23; Acts 12:5-9, 12; Rom. 10:1;  Eph. 1:18; Col. 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:1, 2; Jas. 5:16)

b. Serves as a leader in worship

4.  As a peacemaker or reconciler (Matt. 5:9; 2 Cor. 5:18-19).

5.  As a preacher of the gracious Good News of Christ (Rom. 10:14; 2 Pet. 2:5)

6.  As a professor-teacher (see above)

7.     As a parent

a.  Like a father (Matt. 13:52; 1 Cor. 4:12-21; 1 Thess. 2:10-12; 1 Tim. 3:5; Philem. 10).

(1) Who sees to it with fellow elders and the deacons that widows in need are taken care of (Acts 6:1ff; 1 Tim. 3:5-16; Jas. 1:27)

(2)   Who also oversees with elders and deacons the needs of orphans (James 1:27).

(3) Who, with the elders through the service of the deacons, takes care of the needy in the church (Luke 14:13; Acts 2:45; 4:35; Rom. 15:26; Gal. 2:10; Eph. 4:28; Jas. 2:2-6)

b.   And like a mother who gives birth (Isa. 66:7; 1 Thess. 5:3) and who nurses (1 Thess. 2:7)

c.  A nurturer and disciplinarian (Matt. 18; 2 Cor. 7:8-13)

8.  As a model of godliness (Psa. 101:2; 1 Cor. 4:6; 11:1; Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2:10-11; 2 Thess. 3:7, 9; 1 Tim. 4:12; Ti. 2:7; Heb. 12:2; 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:11-25; 5:3; 1 Jn. 2:6; etc.).

9.   As a ruler with fellow elders over Christ’s church (1 Thess. 5:12, 13; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17)

a.      Overseeing the church of Christ (1 Tim. 3:4, 5, 12; Rom. 12:8).

b.      Exercising judicial discipline (Matt. 18:15-19; Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 5:20; 6:3; Ti. 1:13; 2:15; 3:10; Rev. 2:2, 14, 15, 20).

c.      With Christ’s authority, but not lording it over God’s people (Matt. 20:25-26; Mk. 10:42-43; 1 Pet. 5:3).

10.  As an evangelist (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 20:21; 21:8; 1 Tim. 5:22; 2 Tim. 4:5; Tit. 1:5)

a.      By faithful testimony of Christ in life and lip (Acts 20:21; 1 Thess. 2:2).

b.      By giving the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 3:21-28; 11:6; Gal. 3:1-9; 1 Pet. 4).

11.   The pastor or elder is also described in roles as a messenger (2 Cor. 8:23), a good worker (2 Cor. 6:1; Phil. 2:25), a soldier (Phil. 2:25; 2 Tim. 2:3-4), an athlete (1 Cor. 9:24-25; Phil. 3:14; 2 Tim. 2:5; 4:7-8; Heb. 12:1) and a farmer (2 Tim. 2:6).

 

Notes from

DM 875 The Minister’s Personal and Professional Life Class; New Geneva Theological Seminary; Colorado Springs, CO. August 2010

© Dr. Donald T. Owsley – All Rights Reserved

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2 Comments

Filed under Pastor & Church Relationship, Pastoring

2 responses to “The Pastor’s Duties and Responsibilities

  1. If every pastor in the world had this information we would see an exponential drop in ‘burn out’ and the all dreaded ‘church politics’. Of course, a bunch of pastors would have a hard time in changing their focus to the Lord and His word. What an encouragement! Thank you, sir.

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