Top 5 Tasks of a Pastor

Since Scripture outlines the tasks of an elder, or pastor, in different places such as Titus 1, 1 Timothy 3, and 1 Peter 5 (to name a few), the tasks quickly mount up and one could argue that the top tasks might correlate with the actual gifting of that pastor, rather than approach it with a one size fits all mentality.  However, being that the tasks and traits of elders in the church are listed, none of them should be ignored because a pastor feels that one or the other is not his strong suit.  But, as previously stated, some tasks might be highlighted in one’s ministry due to the unique giftings and callings of the Holy Spirit on a man’s life.  Certainly, “We remain convinced that God’s Word provides the timeless defining paradigm for the nature and particulars of pastoral ministry.  Scripture outlines what God wants a pastor to be and what God wants a pastor to do.”[1]  So instead of finding wisdom from man, we should seek wisdom from God where he has provided it.  Since I cannot speak for all pastors, I will speak for myself in naming what I believe the top 5 tasks that a pastor has in his ministry.

  1. Know and Preach Sound Doctrine[2]: In today’s culture church’s are drifting away from the Supremacy of Scripture.  We suffer because we seek a special word from someone about our individual situation when we have God’s answer already written in Scripture.  Today’s Christian’s have lost sight of what God has already said because they do not study it.  Jesus is enough, but even Jesus knew the Scriptures.  In fact, He loved the Scriptures because they were the words of His Father.  As a minister one of my top tasks will be to ensure that I know what God’s established Word is and to lead others into the same depth of understanding in their own daily lives.
  2. Able to Teach[3]: While I think that there are many solid Christians who simply do not have a teaching gift, I do not think that a person can effectively be a pastor of individuals unless they are able to teach those individuals how to live their lives in godly ways and what the Scripture says.
  3. Manage His Household[4]: I have met some men in leadership who turned out to have horrible relationships with their wives and their children either hate them or miss them so much that they truly resent the faith because of their father’s neglect.  Our faith starts in private—at home.  People can be successful in public but have poor families.  In these circumstances I would say that they are failures.  Men have to be able to teach their children and their wives what God requires of them and what their purposes are on this earth.  If a man cannot do this he should remain single and pursue the ministry.
  4. Tender Heart[5]: Pastors must actually care about people or else they will advance programs over people.  Without compassion for the lost and nurturing of the hurting, there is no point in spreading the gospel.  The good news must be demonstrated first and foremost to those who have experienced its truth.
  5. Humility[6]: There are numerous places in Scripture where we are encouraged to be humble and a pastor must model this trait above all. Pastors must know that they are there to serve and not to be served.  To exalt and not to be exalted.  The pastor who thinks he is irreplaceable must be replaced because he has lost his desire to train others to come after himself.  Pastors must humbly disciple men to grow into the positions that they have, knowing that one day the time will come when they must step down.

[1] MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005: 12.

[2] Titus 1:9 (ESV)

[3] 1 Tim. 3:2

[4] 1 Tim. 3:3

[5] 1 Peter 3:8

[6] Phil. 2:5-11

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