Bet I got you with that title 🙂 Before I explain myself, I want to take a quick detour and lay some groundwork.
Just about every church has a pastor, paid or otherwise, who may or may not go by the title of “pastor” (he may be a priest, preacher, minister, etc). He has been hired / appointed to do the job of “pastoring” the church body. What “pastoring” is defined as varies from church to church and denomination to denomination. But basically he has been charged with the “spiritual wellbeing” of his flock. He is supposed to make sure that the sheep are properly fed (preaching / teaching), protected from the wolves (give godly counsel, discern, decide who can or cannot instruct), and care for the wounded (visitation, prayer, anointing for healing, etc). The problem with most “pastor” job descriptions, is that they want one man to do all the work!! The body of Christ too often does not engage their gifts / does not fulfil the reason that God created them for. This is either through ignorance (nobody told them what spiritual gifts are or how to use them), or laziness (don’t want to bother exercising their gifts). So instead of members of the body of Christ doing “body ministry”, they expect their pastor to do all the work. Beyond the obvious problem of people not fulfilling the call of God on their life, what I listed as the “responsibilities” of the pastor are actually 7 different spiritual gifts, and for the most part you will not find a “pastor” that has all 7 of these gifts. I know pastors who are not gifted as teachers / preachers (even though Ephesians 4:11 hyphenates the teaching and pastoral gifts as pastor-teacher). In fact you can even find a pastor that isn’t even good at pastoring!!
How can a pastor not be good at pastoring, you ask. It’s like any job, some people are naturals (gifted), others need to work at, and some simply suck at the job. Now I’m not saying fire someone from being a “pastor” (office) because he is not good at “pastoring” (gift), because I think the title is an incorrect one. I like the fact that the church I attend does not officially call the head spiritual leader “pastor”, they are called “chief spiritual leader” in order to differentiate between the office and the gift. In our church we can have an evangelist as chief spiritual leader. The Bible interchangeable calls pastors: elders, presbyter, overseer, and bishop. So even the Bible acknowledges that a “pastor” is not necessarily gifted at “pastoring”. The thing for the evangelist, who is called by God to be the head spiritual leader, to realize is that if he is not good at being a pastor, that he needs to find people who are and release them to do so.
So what is the gift of pastoring then?
Pastoring is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to assume a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers.
So by definition pastoring does not include preaching, teaching, administration, or leadership. It does not even necessitate holding the office of pastor. One of the best pastors I know of is a principal of a high school. When Rick Joyner met this man and realized how much he cared for the children under his care, he said to God how much the church needs a man like this, and God told him to leave the pastor alone and not wreck him by trying to put him in a church (oh, the principal was a Christian).
The key to pastoring is taking a keen interest in the spiritual welfare of other believers. We are all supposed to love one another and we can’t get out of loving by saying “I don’t have the gift of pastoring”. But someone who has the gift of pastoring enjoys caring for people; it gets them excited.
More Woman Are Pastors Than Men
I’m sure that statement opens up a lot of discussion 🙂 But it’s true. I don’t know if it’s simply because mothers have a mothering instinct, but the largest church in the world, David Yonggi Cho’s Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul Korea, has 700,000 members and the key to its growth was David Cho recognizing the pastoral gifts among the woman in his church and releasing them to pastor. In fact 80% of the pastors in his church are woman. I will leave it at that as I don’t want to start a flame war on the ordination of woman.
Occurrence Level of the Gift of Pastoring
The gift of pastoring, in a church of 100 people, would most likely be around 4 or 5 people. Which means that someone on average would be responsible for 20-25 people, when properly “employed” within the church. In a church that has cell groups operating, it makes it easier for people to pastor as they have set times when they meet with the people they are called to pastor. (In fact, want to see who is gifted as a pastor, look at how well your cell groups are going. The successful ones most likely have a pastor leading them, though it could be a gifted teacher people like listening to…)
I find it funny that when a teacher says “In closing” he really means “I will be done in 5-10 minutes”.
I don’t believe in pastors because I don’t think one man is called to do the work that the whole body of Christ is called to do (basically that we have misused the word). I believe in people called to pastor, I believe in leaders who lead, I believe that instead of labelling someone a “pastor”, we need to acknowledge what gifts they really have, no matter if they hold the office of a pastor or not.
Ah, shoot, I lied. It was 5-10 minutes. But here is an important passage of scripture to back up what I’m saying:
A Living Sacrifice
12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Gifts of Grace
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 12:1-8 (ESV)