Role of the Pastoral Office

In this research, I will dialog about the role of the pastor and the pastoral office as it aligns with scripture.  I will also address the qualifications, attributes and disciplines that make one a healthy and affective pastor.    I will also identify the different types of pastors such as the senior pastor or lead pastor, the executive pastor, teaching pastor, youth pastor, pastors by particular ministry.

Senior Pastor

The Bible says a great deal. The primary terms that describe the role of the pastor are “elder,” “bishop,” and “teacher” (1 Timothy 3:1–13). “Elder,” or episkopos (from which we get our word episcopal) refers to the oversight of the believers, and it involves teaching, preaching, caring, and exercising authority where needed. The elder also serves in the church as leader and teacher. In Titus 1:5–9, Paul urges Titus to “appoint elders in every city.” They will teach and lead the congregation in their spiritual development. Also, in 1 Peter 5:1–4, Peter addresses his “fellow elders” and tells them to “be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve” (v. 2).

So concerning the role of senior pastor the Bible doesn’t address that title specifically. It has come into existence as the church has grown and required additional staff. The title of senior pastor refers to the person who primarily leads the church, generally doing the majority of the preaching and teaching in the pulpit at the services and overseeing the administration of the church. Some larger churches may even have an executive pastor who oversees the day-to-day operation of the church, while the senior pastor then would be responsible for working with the church board, along with the preaching, teaching, and counseling ministries that go with the role of pastor.

Every church, whether large or small, needs a pastor who will shepherd, lead, feed, and guide the people to spiritual growth and service for the Lord Jesus. In larger churches, a senior pastor often shepherds the pastoral team in addition to shepherding the congregation. As a result, a senior pastor should be held to an even higher standard of agreement to 1 Timothy 3:1–13 and Titus 1:6–9 than other pastoral roles.[1]

Executive Pastor

With the advent of large, multi-staff churches in the 1980s came the need for a full-time pastoral staff member charged with coordinating the complex administrative needs of local congregations. Thus the position of “executive pastor” was created to coordinate all management concerns, including personnel, finances, and facilities. Rather than being the visionary leader, the executive pastor is most commonly a gifted administrator charged with implementing the vision offered by the senior pastor or church board.

The executive pastor serves a coordinating role between board and staff. The job description generally involves office administration, including overseeing the hiring of new personnel, supplying them with appropriate technology, and ensuring staff development. Policies and procedures are also a common part of the executive pastor’s portfolio, as churches learn to cope with complex employment laws and building codes. Many churches use the executive pastor to facilitate ministry cooperation, establish and manage the budget, work closely with a lay board to ensure financial accountability, and create a master plan to chart future staff and facility needs. The role continues to evolve as churches begin focusing on previously neglected areas such as marketing and communications, and it is finding acceptance by smaller churches in need of a professional administrator on staff.[2]


Since God has designed the body in such a way that its potential needs may be met by variously gifted believers, what does the Pastor-teacher do in that assembly? We find in Ephesians 4 that he is among four gifts given for the equipping of the saints for ministry (verse 12). Some disservice has been done by the addition of an “the” before “work of ministry” in the King James translation. The absence of the article reminds us that Paul referred to a sample of ministry. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:6-8, there are diversities of gifts, ministries and operations. One of the responsibilities of the Pastor-teacher is to see that believers are being spiritually adjusted so that they can carry out that particular ministry for which God has gifted them. For example, one with the gift of mercy will be able to show mercy far more effectively if he/she knows how to be spiritual, how to properly use the Fruit of the Spirit and how to minister in keeping with God’s Word. Here teaching is of great importance. Sometimes, simply the instruction that each believer has a special area of ministry and is important to the local assembly, for more than putting money in the offering plate and being another body in a pew on Sunday, has great impact. For too long the Church has been suffocated by the Clergy – Laity mentality. We are supposed to be out from under the influence of Romanism and yet often act as though we are not. Peter wrote the Elders to “shepherd” the flock of God (1 Peter 5:12). I’m sure most know that the word “feed” or “shepherd” refers to the act of pastoring with emphasis upon feeding. These elders needed to pastor by overseeing the flock. Oversight would refer to the Pastor’s responsibility to watch over the flock for spiritual dangers such as the wolves Paul referred to in Acts 20:28-31. The pastor needs to be alert to those who have the best interests of the Church at heart versus those who may even be gifted but want only to gain a following. Timothy, who was filling in as a pastor-teacher in Ephesus, was frequently reminded of the spiritual dangers and wolfen men mainly within the Church. Paul told him that if he laid the facts concerning the errant teachers and men before the believers that he would be a good minister of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 4:6).

Before discussing the role of a youth pastor/minister, it is important to first discuss the qualifications. Generally speaking, anything said about the role of bishop/overseer should be applied to any other church leadership position, including youth pastor/minister. Therefore, the biblical qualifications for a youth pastor/minister are found in 1 Timothy 3:1–13 and Titus 1:6–9. The youth pastor/minister must be above reproach, the husband of one wife (if married), temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, managing his own family well, having obedient, respectful children, not a recent convert, and having a good reputation with outsiders.

Youth Pastor

Youth pastor is not explicitly mentioned in Scripture. It has developed over the years as churches have become especially cognizant of the need to disciple and nurture young people, particularly teens. Since the 1960s, the pressures on teens from societal and cultural influences have become so enormous that the role of youth pastor and the development of youth departments in churches have become strongly emphasized. At the same time, the spiritual needs of youth are no different from the needs of adults (although the approach to meeting those needs may differ). Young people need the “pure spiritual milk” that will enable them to grow into mature Christians, and youth leaders must use the Word of God to teach, rebuke, correct and train in righteousness so that those in their care “may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

Studies consistently show that if a person does not come to faith in Christ at an early age, and/or is not instructed in the Christian faith while in the formative years, it becomes dramatically less likely that he/she will come to faith in Christ and/or spiritual maturity as an adult. While a youth pastor/minister should not be seen as replacing the parents as a child’s primary spiritual influence, having a godly, loving, and caring youth pastor/minister can have a tremendous spiritual impact. Perhaps 1 Timothy 4:12 applies equally to youth pastors/ministers and to the young people they are shepherding: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”[3]

Ministry Pastor

The ministry pastor may be gifted in a particular ministry such as missions, this pastor is in charge of overseeing a particular ministry and answers to the senior pastor who is his overseer.

Church Government

I will explain the government of our church congregation at Lighthouse Community Church of Dania Beach.   Every Biblical church has elders, some refer to them only as pastors.  The ruling or authoritative elders are made up of the senior pastor and the associate pastor.  They also have an elder board which they call a pastor board made up of other pastors who are pastors over various ministries within the church.  These pastors give their insight and the authoritative alders take their insight into consideration but these two ruling elders made the final decision.   These ruling elders have a financial board in which they listen to and take into serious consideration.   The financial board is made up of laypeople within the church who have backgrounds as accountants and finance.  However, the ruling elders make the final decision regarding the financial decisions.  The church has membership and each member can vote at business meetings and also have the right with a 2/3rds vote to eject a pastor out of office. This was put into place so that if the current pastors leave the church, the congregation will be protected from any rogue pastor that may be elected into office.

Integrity of heart with skillful hands he lead them referring to King David. Ezekiel 34:1-2 is the indictment of the shepherds of Israel vs. 11.   Good shepherds take care of their flock, take care of the strays and heal the sick.  God said, I will shepherd my people myself and he sent his son Jesus. Shepherds minister best in teams.  John Chp. 21 Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times.  Acts 20:26-27 pastors are not responsible for the way the sheep responds to what the Sheppard’s say.  The metaphor of the Sheppard shows a humble task of guiding the sheep and keeping them safe and leaving the sheep to go after a stray.  Luke 15:4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

15:4 The shepherd’s gathering of his sheep often appears as imagery for God’s delivering his own people at the end time (cf. Isa 40:11; Jer 31:10–11; Ezek 34:11–12). The contrast between the 99 sheep in his fold and the lost one highlights God’s love for even a single individual.[4]

“If an expectation is not filled, then there is a crushing, When desire is not fulfilled, there is only disappointment.  Everything you do in ministry has to come from your love of God. Every pastor needs a mind of a scholar, the hearts of a child and the hide of a rhino.    It is possible to be a huge success in the eyes of man but not successful in the eyes of God.  Luke Chp. 12 The worldly man is a good example of this. What kind of person do I need to be to discern that the call of God?

It’s not something that we decide by ourselves.  Ask the Lord of the harvest for him to send out workers. How can they preach unless they have been sent?  How do I know if God has called me?

1 Peter 2:9 God called us out of darkness.  God’s call has internal and external factors, personal and communal. 1 Timothy Chp. 3 Seek to see what you can give to the sheep rather than what you can take and do it for the right reasons.  Don’t try to pay God back, you can’t pay it back because its grace, you need the Holy Spirit to search our hearts.”

5 tests to discern God’s calling

  1. Inner witness, inner presence
  2. The confirmation of others, beware of flattery
  3. Genuine concern for others, including their souls
  4. Godly constraint, work for God
  5. Inadequacy and unworthiness to the call

The man should have the needs of the church and the world, the desire to preach, the gifting and the circumstantial factors. When choosing a pastor, never choose his gifting over his godliness.

The qualities of a shepherd

  1. Having a reputation that is above reproach
  2. Self-controlled in all areas
  3. Able to teach
  4. Humble (not a recent convert)
  5. Present condition, not his past history

Shepard’s need to exercise their power in servitude and be on guard against the three major temptations.

  1. Money
  2. Sex
  3. Power, more pastors fail because they do not know how to use their power properly

Power is a gift from God and therefore that gift must be stewarded properly.  The only pathway to becoming great is to become a servant.  Jesus links his servitude with ours, Jesus life of servitude provides a pattern for our own found in Mark 10:43-45. In servanthood we think of others more than our self in humility, putting your desires aside for others. The Father is greater in authority and if we stay close to Jesus, he meets are needs, which releases us to meet other’s needs, rather than manipulate others to meet our own needs.  Intent and motivation is what determines whether an action is servanthood or manipulation.

A pastor must be healthy, he must stay physically fit and exercise regularly and also eat a balanced and healthy meals. The pastor must also demonstrate that he is relationally healthy.  The most important people to minister too are the people within your family.  Your marriage is a higher relationship than your relationship with ministry.  The pastor must also be spiritually healthy and not mistake his ministry for personal time with the Lord and the pastor must also be ministered too.   Sleep is another important aspect of the minsters life. Don’t sacrifice sleep in order to serve, getting enough sleep is also a discipline.  If you are married don’t let your spouse become jealous of your ministry.  Guard your relationship with your spouse, number one underneath your relationship with God is your wife.  Work no more than 55 hours per week, as if you are doing this for the Lord, rather than trying to build yourself up by creating a successful ministry.


There are several types of pastoral roles within the church government and each has been gifted with both natural and spiritual gifts which will help determine where they fit within the church.   Healthy boundaries will help the pastor from burnout and temptation. A good diet is imperative and exercise is also imperative for the long haul of the pastoral role.  Priorities of God first, wife second, work third and ministry fourth are vital.  The pastor must not be a recent convert and as close to mature lacking in nothing as possible.


[1] D. A. Carson. “The Gospels and Acts,” in NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message, ed. D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan., 2015, 2109

Got Questions Ministries. Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham. WA: Logos Bible Software., 2002–2013).

[1] Michael J. Anthony et al., Evangelical Dictionary of Christian Education. Baker Reference Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2001.

[1] Got Questions Ministries, Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2002–2013).

[2] Michael J. Anthony et al., Evangelical Dictionary of Christian Education, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 272. Grace Teaching website.

[3] Got Questions Ministries, Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2002–2013).

  1. compare, confer

[4] D. A. Carson, “The Gospels and Acts,” in NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message, ed. D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 2109.

Quotes from Dr. Roy

Source: Genesis University

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