Preliminary Remarks as to the Office of the Pastor
It is important to state that an office is not a spiritual gift*, and a spiritual gift alone does not qualify anyone for an office (cf. The Particular Gifts).
An officer is one who is elected or appointed to an office or position of authority or a certain function under authority. In a Baptist church the pastor must be a church member and his calling must be affirmed or recognized by a vote of the church (cf. Acts 6:5).
Pastors are given a trust to perform the task or duty to be carried out with the authority of the church. This has to do with the “hats he wears", or "the titles he bears". What then are these titles he bears? There are three titles for this office; they are pastor, elder, and bishop.
Poimen GK, means shepherd and is used of those who care for sheep (cf. Luke 2:8) It is also used in the NT of church leaders (see Eph. 4:11). Related words are the noun "flock" (poimnion) and the verb "to feed" or "to shepherd" (poimaino). In John 10:11, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd (poimen). Compare this 1Peter 5:4 where Peter refers to Christ as the Chief Shepherd. Both of these examples speak of Christ's care for His people. We may think of Him as our Good Pastor and the Chief Pastor. Similarly, the verb poimaino, "to feed" or "to shepherd" can mean "to pastor" when ministy to people are in view. This is exactly the case when Jesus told Peter to, "...feed [His] sheep." John 21:16.
Presbuteros GK. Suggests one who is older wiser and or more mature. I believe a young man who demonstrates characteristics of maturity and wisdom may also fill the office of elder. What do you think are marks of maturity and wisdom? Why does a pastor have to be mature? How does maturity develop?
Episcopos GK, refers to an overseer, one who leads and give direction. What are some areas in a local church a pastor should oversee?
This is one office with three titles. It is proper for me to speak of pastor De Courcy, elder De Courcy, or bishop De Courcy. (cf. Acts 20:17-38; Titus 1:5,7a; 1Pet.5:2; 1Tim.5:17) Actually, he prefers bishop, but his wife and friends call him Philip.
In His fellowship,
*Teaching of spiritual gifts may be accesed in the achives of June and July 2006 of The Earnest Contender.