We’re talking about the primary responsibilities of a pastor in this series intended to encourage and guide young men considering pastoral ministry.
The third area of responsibility is leadership and oversight of the church.
One of the terms used in the New Testament to refer to the pastor is “overseer.” Or you might see the older word “bishop” in some Bible translations. Overseer is a good literal translation of the original New Testament word. The word in Greek (the language in which the New Testament was first written) is episkopos. If you separate it into two parts, you get epi and skopos. Epi means “over.” Skopos means “to see,” like with a scope. The whole word means “to oversee.”
1 Timothy 3:1 says, “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” 1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” The word “elders” is another term for the office of pastor. To “rule well” is to oversee. Peter instructs pastors to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight” (1 Peter 5:2).
As an overseer, a pastor provides leadership to the church. He does this first through his ministry of preaching and teaching. Pastors also give direction for the ministry and guide it as an organization. They make plans that reflect the church’s mission and lead the church in pursuing them. They equip and enlist people in various positions of responsibility.
A pastor is often the person up front, leading the service when the church gathers for worship and instruction. He also oversees by protecting the church from false teaching, corrupting influences, and division.
Some people are natural leaders. However, not all pastors feel comfortable and confident in a leadership role. Many of the qualities and practices of a leader can be learned. And of course God enables us to do what we could not otherwise do.
In the next post I’ll talk about the call to ministry. What is it? How do you know if you’re called? What do you do if you think you’re called? Let’s take a look at those important questions.