1. Provide direction.
The duty of the shepherd is to lead the sheep. ” So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15 AV) They have a tendency to wander off as stated often the Scriptures. “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.” (Psalms 119:176 AV) The shepherd must make sure that he knows where he is leading the sheep. If the sheep are following a wandering shepherd, they all will suffer. Peter understood this and so stated that the priorities of the man that will follow God that he may lead God’s people are to be prayer and the ministry of the Word. “Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:2-4 AV) Paul also told the Corinthians to follow him as he followed Christ. He was confident in the One that he was following. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 AV)
In order to perform his duties properly, he must be a student of God’s Word. If he has had the opportunity to attend a Bible College or a Seminary, he has a good start on his knowledge of God’s Word and the ministry. The pastor must realize though that he has graduated from a course of study and not from study itself. Paul instructed Timothy to study that he may be ready to be used of God. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 AV) The only course this instruction prescribes is the study of God’s Word. Paul does not mention institutions, courses of study, or degrees. He simply gave instruction for Timothy to prepare himself for the ministry of God’s Word. The pastor must determine to be a lifelong student of the Word of God.
The pastor must avoid the pitfall of substituting the study of the Bible for his devotional time with God in prayer and Bible reading. Devotion will guide him in duty and he must realize that he needs this guidance in order to minister God’s Word in a right manner. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21 AV)
The most important factor in the pastor’s study is his reliance upon the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Without God’s leadership, all of his study will be to no avail. All of the helps that are available to a pastor will be of no avail if he does not follow the Guide as He instructs in the Truth of His Word. The ministry will end up being a social event. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13 AV)
The pastor should be a student of the Scriptures but he also needs to be a student of life. Paul’s knowledge of the people and cultures of the world helped him as he preached the gospel and as he instructed others in ministry. “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22-31 AV)
Paul was able to instruct Titus as to the character of the people that Titus was ministering to. “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.” (Titus 1:12 AV) Being familiar with them gave him encouragement in the work.
Being an able student of life means the pastor should know personally the people that God has given him responsibility for. Is the pastor responsible for the people in his church? The Scriptures teach that the pastor will give an account for them, so he is being held responsible. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17 AV)
The pastor, then, must plan his ministry. Some would say that planning and setting goals sets aside the daily leadership of God, but this is not true. The plan and goals of God’s work in creation have been established before creation and are sure into eternity, but God still actively works in His creation on a daily basis. The pastor must plan to preach the Word of God and must preach the whole Counsel of God. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2 AV) The Great Commission states that he is to teach them to “observe whatsoever I have commanded you” Matthew 28:20. He should be prepared to settle into the work to bring the people from being babes to those that are strong and mature in the Word and work of God. “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” (1 Corinthians 3:2 AV) and “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (1 Peter 2:2 AV)
The pastor has to know the importance of preaching and set for the priority of the pulpit ministry in the church. Even though every part of the ministry is important, priorities must be set in order that every thing be done to the best degree possible. Paul spoke of the priority of preaching in his letter to the church in Corinth. “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21 AV) Even as he was writing his letter to the church at Rome, he had a great desire to preach to them. He was used of God to minister to them by pen and paper, but in his heart was the desire to be present with them and to preach to them. “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me……So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. (Romans 1:11,12,15 AV)
Paul knew, as every preacher should, the power of preaching. It is not the power of oration or the honing of skills, although God uses a prepared man. It is the power of God through a vessel of clay to a world in need. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 AV) “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-7 AV)
Another duty of the pastor involves doing the work of an evangelist. Every Christian is to be a witness, a “soul winner”. Paul wrote the church at Corinth, reminding them that being saved, they are new creatures in Christ Jesus. As they have new life, they also have new obligations. Every Christian is an Ambassador for Christ and should be involved in the ministry of His Gospel to the world. The responsibility is given individually to show that they should all work corporately to fulfill the commission to the church. No church member may say that it is not his responsibility and that it a work for the leadership. Each and everyone is to be involved in this work. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20 AV)
The pastor, of course, is included in this ministry of the church, but Paul is speaking of another work in chapter 4 of his second epistle to Timothy, the calling of the evangelist. This calling is actually shown as being different from the calling of the pastor/teacher. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (Ephesians 4:11 AV)
The evangelist is commonly called a missionary today. The pastor will be called upon to do the work of an evangelist at times. Again, this is more than sharing the gospel in the area where the pastor is ministering because that is his ministry even without instructions to do this ministry. This part of his ministry involves going to where the gospel has not be preached or where there is no church ministering the Word of God, and he will preach and teach with the end of planting a church in that area.
The pastor must labor among his people but he must lead the way in looking outward also. He should present the commission to the church as given by the Lord and then lead by example in looking out into his community, and country, and then beyond, to the ends of the earth. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. “(Mark 16:15 AV)
2. Preach doctrine.
The pastor is to preach and to teach that sound doctrine is manifested in every area of life. Many groups today are trying to elevate mutual understanding and what they define as “Christian love” over and above sound doctrine. What they do not realize or, or at least will not admit, is that “Christian love” is sound doctrine as defined by the Scriptures and not according to their emotional attitude of bonding.
The fact of this truth is shown in the clear instructions given to the pastor for the instruction of those members of the church in Titus, chapter 2. The specific attributes of the character of the elderly men, the elderly women, young women, and young men are specified in verses 2 through 6 for the purpose of instruction and adherence. The character of those in leadership positions and that for the servants is set forth in verses 7 through 10.
The basis for these attributes of character is given in verses 11 through 15. God did not lead Paul to specify these things if He did not intend the pastors to apply them to their own lives, and instruct the brethren to both know and do them in their lives. The doctrine of God glorifies Him in its application and testimony in His church.
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. (Titus 2:1-15 AV)
3. Provide wisdom. (Elder)
Another duty of the pastor involves the aspect of being an elder. He is to visit the sick, especially when called to a critical case and is to be prepared to both witness and to pray. James made it very clear that the power of prayer does not rest in the power of the man praying, but in the One being prayed to. He spoke of the extreme circumstances brought about at the prayer of Elijah and then shared that Elijah was a man just like any man. It is the faith of the man that makes the difference. Is there faith being invested in the prayer for the sick as there was in the prayer about rain? The pastor needs to be a man that prays in faith.
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. (James 5:14-18 AV)
4. Provide business acumen. (Bishop)