A Pastor is a shepherd over the Body of Christ. As a shepherd, God has made him responsible for the well being, protection and growth of His people.
Jesus is the great shepherd. "The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep... and knows the sheep and is known by his sheep" (John 10:11-18).
The shepherd is the protector of the sheep, guarding against false teachings and wolfs among the flock. For this reason he must have Spiritual insight and discernment. He must nurture and develop ministry within the flock and develop spiritual unity within the Body. Therefore he must have insight into God's working within his people.
The Pastor displays the "Father Heart" of God. He watches over the "children" with the same love and concern as God. The Pastor "fosters" God's children as if they were his own flesh and blood.
The function of "Elder", "Bishop" and "Pastor" as described in the Bible are all the same. Therefore the requirements for each are the same.
"This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the office of a Bishop (Elder or Pastor) he desires a good work. A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober minded, hospitable, able to teach, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle. Not quarrelsome, not covetous. One who rules his house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the house of God). Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
In short the Pastor (Elder or Bishop) must be a "fatherly figure" within the Church. One who has the interest of God's Children at heart, and who can Spiritually guide and nurture them until they grow to Spiritual "adult-hood" themselves.
One important thing to realise is that the office of Pastor is not an Ecclesiastical position as many Churches believe, but is a Spiritual function within the Body. The Pastor is not the "head" of a Church, Jesus is. There may be many "Pastors" within the same Church, all "Shepherding" groups of Christians. The Pastor is simply a man, in whom the Spirit of God has placed a strong fatherly love for the people of God.
Created: 23 - Jan - 1997.