Saturday, 27 September 2008

Duties, Tasks, and Responsibilities of a Pastor/Shepherd/Elder/Overseer

Came across this old blog entry posted by pjtibayan sometime back, but recently linked and made a reference to it again.

He discussed lists by Don Carson, Mark Dever, Benjamin Griffith, Lig Duncan and John Piper.

Check it out here.

To share a basic thought on this, allow me to quote a Chinese congregation pastor who shared this with me, from Mark 9:35
Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
His understanding of pastoral ministry was three-fold:
1. Preaching God's Word (including evangelism)
2. Pastoral care (prayer, counselling, visitation, rites e.g. baptisms, weddings, funerals)
3. Ministry (a specific area of ministry assigned by the church e.g. missions, youth, CE, etc)

I see these three aspects as vital to the pastor's role, and one that is fading all too quickly, as someone commented on pjtibayan's post. Allow me to refine this definition a little further, using the basic framework and example of Christ in the above passage:
1. Teach (in the church)
2. Proclaim (the Word, and specifically the gospel)
3. Heal (besides physical healing, including spiritual and emotional healing)

Overarching these are:
1. Mission (v.35 "going through all the cities and villages")
2. Compassion (v. 36 "like sheep without a shepherd")
3. Obedience (v. 37 "the workers are few ... send out workers into His harvest")
4. Prayer (v.37 "ask the Lord of the harvest")

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At Sat Jul 18, 07:59:00 pm 2009 , Blogger Syam Sundar. B said...

Your comments are good, but I want in specific what are the physical responsibilities of a pastor to the church. I have to insist here that most of the pastors nowadays are denying their responsibilities and they are saying this is not my responsibility - the members are left out without any answer.

Eg: A family is facing property distribution problem. They are approaching their own pastor. The reply what they got back was "that is not my problem" go back and approach the court. Do they have only limited and particular type of responsibilities? Only conducting marriages, funerals etc is his responsibilty? what about other common problems that we face in day-to-day life? Cant they direct to some elder who is having hands on experience in those particular issues? reply to

At Mon Jul 20, 10:56:00 pm 2009 , Blogger Timothy P said...

Thanks for your comment, Syam. I guess that the role of a pastor has evolved over time, generations and cultures. I would think that you might hardly ever find a pastor that follows the model of Paul, Timothy or the early church fathers closely. It depends on the type of church, denomination, seminary, history, previous pastors, expectation of church members, size, number of staff, etc.

As I explained in this post, I like to think that pastors and churches should seriously consider redeeming the traditional roles as modeled by Christ (Mark 9:35), teaching/preaching, proclaiming the gospel, ministering to needs.

See related posts
Shepherd the Flock (27 Apr 09)


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