After we go through each individual position we will talk about how a church would look if they were properly functioning within Biblical standards.
poimén: a shepherd
Original Word: ποιμήν, ένος, ὁ
Phonetic Spelling: (poy-mane’)
Definition: a shepherd; the feeder, protector, and ruler of a flock of men.
4166 poimḗn – properly, a shepherd (“pastor” in Latin); (figuratively) someone who the Lord raises up to care for the total well-being of His flock (the people of the Lord).
This title is the one that most people place on the head leader of every local church body. We mainly call anyone who shares God’s Word a preacher. Also, any message we hear about the Bible we call preaching. However, the word preacher here means shepherd. The shepherd is the one who is able to teach, share the Gospel, etc. (just like an evangelist and all other positions) but is given the duty/desire/gift to closely get to know the flock. Like an actual shepherd, their main purpose is to care for the flock in relation to feeding, protecting etc. It’s the individual in leadership who spends their time coordinating the overall plans of the congregation so that they are being cared for in the proper areas. This is the person who visits you, wants a relationship with you, wants to know what is personally happening in your life so that they can be directing the teaching plans etc. A shepherd is like a father who closely knows their child and is able to properly and uniquely help them grow. Every believer should have a hint of this in their life but a shepherd is someone whose main focus/gift is this.
A shepherd is called to take care of the “total well-being of His (god’s) flock.”
A church which understands that their pastor is a shepherd can set proper expectations for what that person is doing. What is unfortunate is that many people see a great evangelist or teacher share a message and assume that since they handle God’s Word properly then they must be a perfect candidate for their pastor… However, accurately handling God’s Word is the lowest common denominator in ALL of these positions. They’ve all got to have that in their life! If we just look at the stewardship of the Word as their qualification we will end up having a body that has no shepherd because they are being led by an evangelist. This leads to an unhealthy setup as someone who is gifted in outreach is trying to lead in shepherding and it’s both stressful and difficult for the leader AND detrimental for the body.
If we can distinguish between these gifts we can properly equip our local churches. A local body who properly distinguishes between even just these two gifts would SO FAR look like:
A shepherd who watches the flock for overall health/protection against Satan and life in general. He would direct the vision and overall plan for growth etc. with the help of the other leaders. He would have the deepest knowledge of the flock and their needs.
An evangelist for focusing on bringing unbelievers in. This individual would facilitate lessons on sharing the Gospel, training for people on how to share the Gospel, and would be one of the primary resources for growing the Church.
Both can share messages on Sunday (or whenever the big gathering takes place) but have vastly different goals Monday through Saturday.
And well you’ll have to wait for the others. lol. Yet you can already see that even with only TWO of the five positions a church could properly focus on guiding and growing the congregation while reaching the lost. A church with only a shepherd would struggle to grow/evangelize because the shepherd would spend most/all their time investing in the body and helping them. A church with only an evangelist grows rapidly but is never properly cared for or known. Each position has it’s own major flaw if they are leading alone. It’s almost like… we need the whole body… Who knew?!
Spend 1-2 minutes thanking God that His Word clearly tells us how to lead a healthy Church. Then spend 2-3 minutes asking God to remove your ASSUMED setup of Church and help you come to agreement with what the Bible actually says. It’s hard to get past the tradition of churches being led by one dude who is somehow all five of these positions. SO only prayer and the Spirit will get you there.
Ask around and see how many people know 1) what their “pastor’s” gift is and 2)whether they even know there is a distinction between them.