What is a pastor?
To many people, a pastor, often called a minister, stands at the pulpit once a week and delivers a message. Some will ponder and talk about the message later in their homes.
Some people see pastors as the person who directs the church’s vision. Therefore, they associate everything that goes right (or wrong) in the church with him.
To some people, a pastor is a counselor or a coaching minister. They meet with the pastor because they are hurting. They go because they need help.
Some people see a pastor as a chaplain. This pastor may be a volunteer who works at a local fire department. He prays with the firefighters and brings the presence of Christ, offering sacraments at the fire station.
A pastor or minister can also be a wedding officiant who helps couples get married.
Pastor in the Bible
The word pastor is taken from the metaphor of shepherding. A spiritual shepherd is a pastor. Ephesians 4:11 mentions that God gave some Christian leaders “to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers.” The word shepherd comes from the Greek word “poimane.” The word “poimane” appears 17 times in the New Testament. It literary means “shepherd” and figuratively means “pastor.”
What is the connection between Pastor and Minister?
People often call the pastor the minister. Christians are called to the office of a minister. The minister’s office comes from the New Testament word “diakonos,” which means a server, waiter, or steward, and spiritually, a server as a deacon or minister. 1 Timothy 3:8-13 talks about the qualifications of ministers.
In other words, a pastor is usually a person with the spiritual or church office of “minister.” They are licensed or ordained ministers who function as “pastors” in the lives of their congregation or sphere of influence.
How Does One Become a Pastor?
Christian religious societies license or ordain the minister who functions as their pastor. Christian societies can be ancient organizations like the Catholic Church or Greek Orthodox Church. Christian religious societies can be reformation denominations, like Lutheran, Baptist, Reformed, Presbyterian, or Episcopal. Recent religious societies like pentecostal or local non-denominational churches have “minister credentialing programs.”
Some societies, like the Christian Reformed Church, have extensive education standards, and most of their ministers or pastors serve in full-time positions. The Catholic Church requires priests to be male and to live a celibate life.
Some societies, like the Christian Leaders Alliance, have online ministry training appropriate to the ministry role. For example, the Christian Leaders Alliance has minister credentialing programs for volunteer, part-time, or full-time ministers. Christian Leaders Alliance also maintains local societies called Soul Centers.
How Do I know if I am Called to Be a Pastor?
A pastor is a Christian who walks with God in their personal life. They feel they are called to serve others in their spiritual and physical needs as ministers. This inner calling speaks to their soul. They believe it is God calling them to service. They also notice that God gives them interest and gifts to serve in ministry. Finally, they notice that people begin seeing them as Christian leaders. Some may even say to them, “You should be a minister or pastor.”