Does your Pastor seem to care more about going door to door and preaching on the street for the lost than listening to your problems? Or maybe your Pastor likes to read in quiet for hours on end and brings a thoroughly-studied message on Sunday, but won't open the door to his office. Perhaps your Pastor prophesies and tells you about your mess, but you just don't feel much love. In fact, you might think that your Pastor missed their purpose. They don't go to the ends of the earth to help you through all of your constant turmoil, so why become a minister and lead a church?
“Pastor” is probably the most misused title within the church community. When you see “Pastor,” you probably think of the person who is in charge of everyone at your local church – the overseer. Being a Pastor doesn't mean you're the overseer, and being the overseer doesn't mean you're a Pastor.
The calling of “Pastor” is a specific work – not just a title placed on someone who oversees. Overseers, or Bishops, have a level of authority and government based on experience and actually living the Word. Being at the authority level of a Bishop has absolutely nothing to do with their calling. So while the person you call “Pastor” may be able to preach, make sure everything in the church functions, live the Word and cause the doors to stay open week after week, they may not be called to the work of the “Pastor.” They may have another calling – Apostle, Evangelist, Prophet, or Teacher. This misunderstanding between calling and authority level can cause serious problems, not only for the church members who may feel neglected or abused, but also for the overseer who is expected to be something they are not and are blamed for it.
Someone called to be a Pastor is constantly watching out for and protecting the sheep. Don't get me wrong - the Overseer, regardless of calling, does love the church and what God has called him to, as well as serves and protects the congregation. The called Pastor, however, has a deep love for people and are aware of each individual . They are usually counseling people for hours on end and are willing to pour out grace, forgiveness, and love, even when someone doesn't seem like they're improving. This can actually cause the Pastor to get run over, used, and abused because they love each individual so deeply that many people take advantage. Pastors are the ones that notice the people that are missing, see those who are under attack, and take steps to secure people and keep them from perishing at the hands of the enemy. A Pastor is called to directly know the people and care for them individually. Though all Christians are certainly called to show God's love, Pastors are the ones going non-stop, looking out for everyone in the congregation to shower them in love and protect them from harm. They go after the one that goes astray, the one that others didn't notice or have in their friend group and that would normally have fallen through the cracks.
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Matthew 18:12-14 (KJV)
How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
It helps both parties to recognize the very important difference between authority and calling. Having a better understanding of Biblical church government can clear up many misunderstandings in the church world and help both ministers and congregational members alike. If you'd like to understand more about different callings, authority levels, and much more, check out our Ministry Mastery website.