WHAT IS A MINISTER? (Shepherds 7)
We have seen the terms the Bible uses for pastors: “shepherd,” “bishop/overseer,” “elder” and “pastor-teacher.” One more term used to describe pastors is “MINISTER.” Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:6 “If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.” This is the same word translated “deacon” in Acts 6:1-15. The word is used for a servant who waits on tables.
Pastors and leaders are servants of the people. We aren’t to have others serve us but for us to serve them. Some pastors think the sheep are to serve them. They expect the people to do everything they want so the church looks good and people are impressed with the pastor. In their pride, they think they are more important than others. But the Bible says we are to serve our people, not have them serve us. To be true servants of our people we must be humble servants like Jesus. Pride is a common temptation & danger for pastors.
Sheep don’t serve the shepherd; the shepherd serves his sheep. Jesus was a shepherd that served His sheep. Matthew 20:28 says Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. He washed His disciples’ feet and said we are to the same thing. We are to serve our sheep.
But that doesn’t mean we do everything everyone wants us to do. Serving our sheep means we do what is best for them. It’s the same as we do with our own children. What if we did everything our children wanted us to do? Would that be good for them? A parent serves his children by doing what is best for them, not everything they want. Sometimes the children may get upset or not like us. But we know it is more important to do what best for them to grow. Sometimes our people may get upset with us or not like us. They may tell others you aren’t a good pastor or even leave to go to a different church. But we must do what God expects, even if they don’t understand.
So we have 4 terms for a pastor, – each showing a different aspect of our duties. PASTOR, or PASTOR-TEACHER, refers to a shepherd who leads and feeds his sheep, as we teach God’s Word. OVERSEER is one who guards and protects the people. ELDER is the same as overseer, but used in the Jewish culture. Both overseer and elder refer to someone who plans and guides a group. He doesn’t do everything himself but he makes sure it gets done. MINISTER, or deacon, is one who humbly serves others by doing what is best for them.
2 Corinthians 3:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Colossians 1:7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,
Colossians 4:7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.
What a great honor to be called a “faithful minister”! Thank God for the privilege of ministering for Him. Ask Him to help you stay faithful. If you are more concerned about others serving you than you are about serving them, ask God to forgive you and help you serve like Jesus serves you?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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