5 Functions of a Pastor

The functions of a pastor are preaching, teaching, worship, fellowship, shepherding, and delegation.

Pic from Flickr by six steps

I will explain the thoughts of each.


Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (ESV). Also, in 1 Corinthians 1:23, we preach Christ crucified. I preach because God has called me to proclaim and herald the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am compelled to, I cannot help it. When I do not preach, I go into some kind of withdrawal. I feel a need, an urgency to preach. According to 2 Timothy 4, I should always be ready to preach no matter the day, time, circumstance or situation. If I am called upon, I should be ready and available. I preach the Bible and just the Bible. No opinion or prejudice is allowed in the pulpit. A pastor should dress appropriately considering the context of his congregation. He should look presentable and well-groomed. He should be able to communicate his message in a way that is appropriate for the listening level of his congregation. Large, dictionary vocabulary should be avoided if the congregation does not process that level of communication on a daily basis. When preaching with notes, I try to review a day or two before the sermon is preached because I do not want to be directly reading the notes. Notes are a guide not carved in stone. If I use power point, I structure, points and sentences in a way that prompt me on what to say so I do not have to use notes as often.  Preaching is my act of worship and when I stand in the pulpit, everything I do and say should glorify God. God does incredible things when His word is proclaimed. God can use the pastor’s message to convict hearts, bring people to salvation, change them completely, show them the path for their life, make them better disciples, draw them closer to Himself and other things. I aim to please God alone, pray before I preach and I wait in anticipation to see what God is going to do.


Not everything a pastor does is preaching. I am in a seven week series right now on discipleship. It is a little more casual like a classroom style lecture. Scripture is highly used. I teach because the congregation cannot do what they do not know how to do and they cannot respect or worship what they do not know. Teaching helps them learn and by learning they obtain knowledge and wisdom. This also helps the congregation to understand a pastor’s sermon better.


A pastor must be the lead worshiper. He must live his life out as a living sacrifice which is his spiritual act of worship. A pastor is an example of how to live more like Jesus Christ. He is not perfect but he should strive to live a life in holiness. His attitude should be one of praise and worship as much as possible even though this is not always easy to do. A pastor that does not have his own intimate relationship with God is not an effective pastor.


A pastor should know his flock. He should spend some time, not a lot, getting to know his people. A pastor does not need to reject people or become stand-offish. A pastor should have fellowship with his family first and then his people. Fellowship brings community to the congregation and helps to authenticate a family like atmosphere. This community of believers are more likely to live out being the body of Christ that they are called to be.


A pastor is a shepherd. A shepherd cares for his flock. A lot of things fall into this category. A pastor shepherds by praying for and over his flock, visiting the sick, counseling, sharing meals with people, conducting weddings, officiating funerals, conducting baptisms, disciplining the flock, and other things. Shepherding can take a lot of time if the pastor does not plan wisely. Shepherding is important but it is secondary to the study and preaching of the word. A shepherd that does not smell like sheep is not a shepherd.


A pastor cannot under any circumstances do everything required to run a church properly and still have adequate time to study the scripture. In my current situation, I delegate things that I do not have time for. My wife is gifted in music so she mostly picks songs and leads the music portion of our service. I know some churches that delegate the updating of their social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. I feel that delegation takes pressure off of me and empowers my wife and students to become better at what they do. Delegation gives a pastor more time to spend preparing the sermon that God has given him to share.