When my dear friend, Gary Divine, assumed a new pastorate in Mississippi, he was moderating his first business meeting on a Wednesday evening. On the agenda, was the task of seeking out a new lawn keeper. One member — in an attempt to guilt the new pastor into taking the job — said, "Our former pastor always mowed the lawn." Divine answered, "Well, I've already talked to your former pastor about that, and he said he didn't want to do it anymore." True story!
What is your concept of the job description of your pastor? I have been the pastor of six churches over a period of 45 years, and interim pastor in 11 additional churches, and I can tell you, the opinions are myriad. Many think he is to be a nursemaid, a plumber, a landscape artist, an errand boy, carpenter, psychiatrist, bus driver, visit every hospital and nursing home in the area, and sandwiched in the middle of all of that somewhere, he needs to study a little to prepare for an 18 minute sermon on Sunday morning.
But what does scripture say about the pastor's job description?
The Apostle Paul indicated that the pastor is to work to ensure the flock remains strong in their faith and to keep them from being distracted in their Christian walk. Colossians 1:23. In order to fulfill this task, the pastor must give ample time to prayer and study of the Word of God.
Spending 30 hours a week in preparation to preach three sermons, is barely adequate. And then, it has been determined that preaching a 30-minute sermon places as much physical, emotional and mental stress on the body as an 8-hour workday.
He was also willing, and even joyful over suffering for the flock. He considered it such a great privilege to participate in the "fellowship of suffering" with Christ. Colossians 1:21-19; Philippians 3:10-14
He was overjoyed to share, with the church, deep mysteries of the Word of God, including the fact God had taken the gospel of Christ, which was originally intended for the Jews, and opened it up to the gentiles. Ephesians 2:13-16. Paul felt compelled to accomplish this.
Paul was passionate about charging the Body of Christ to spread the gospel message throughout the community.
Paul was a disciple-maker. Many young men keenly observed his life and ministry and sought to emulate it. If a pastor can reproduce himself in the lives of three or four people, reproduce his ministry skills in them, and empower them to serve, that pastor has quadrupled his ministry on earth.
And church member, if you have a pastor who is passionately given to accomplishing all these tasks, which have been mandated to him through scripture, then you will be thrilled and honored to help out with the yard work, plumbing, carpentry work, organization -- even help out with some of those nursing home and hospital visits, and use whatever ministry gifts with which God has equipped you.
And this all will lead to a vibrant, alive, ministering, and growing church.
Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.