I thought it would be informing to help identify what the differences are between preachers and pastors. This is not exhaustive, just a basic look at how and why some churches choose to pick the person who fills the pulpit. Also, this will provide a reason why so many churches have revolving doors, regarding pastors. So, let’s take a look at three reasons why a church wants a good preacher and not a good pastor.
#1 A Preacher Brings an Audience
The good preacher presents a message each week which is vibrant and sounds great—he will eventually bring in a crowd. This person tells the people what they want to hear and is a great orator. However, this is not the main function of a pastor—even though it is a major aspect of the position, there are differences between preachers and pastors. While pastors should be trained in preaching and know how to deliver a message, the bottom line is not people in seats, but the Word of God in hearts. Most churches seek a person who can preach the paint off of walls, while neglecting the importance of the pastoral role—to guide, direct, and lead the people; this includes from false doctrine, theology, and also in the roles of the Church as a whole and within culture and society.
#2 A Pastor is a Shepherd
The Shepherd has a rod and a staff. Many evangelicals do not like discipline, or being told they are wrong. Let’s face it, with so many mega churches, denominations, and church plants today, believers can basically survive under the radar. So, some churches do not want to offend those visiting with a message of sin or the Gospel. If this occurs, it is time to get rid of the shepherd and find another preacher. It is even noticeable that some churches subconsciously will drive out good pastors because they adhere to either biblical teaching, traditions, or are leading the church into an area that is uncomfortable. Shepherds do that sometimes—they lead their flocks into unfamiliar territory or un-comfortability. A good shepherd knows that he is teaching the flock and helping them to grow, spiritually and emotionally. A good preacher may know how to speak the truth, but a good pastor sees the truth and exposes false teaching.
#3 No Trust in the Shepherd
For the pastor to lead, he must be able to lead with trust. If the church does not follow the vision, teaching, or leading of the shepherd then the shepherd is no longer a shepherd, but a preacher and a goat herder. The church that does not trust the leadership of the pastor, never intended to be lead, but to lead—this happens far too often. When there is a lack of trust for the pastor, he cannot lead anywhere except where the sheep are familiar with going. This leads to complacency, lethargy, and spiritual purgatory. However, there are a few church congregations that are more than happy to lead. I’ve heard of one pastor who was told by a prominent member, “I was here before you got here and I will be here when you leave.” There is absolutely no place for that comment or person in the Church of Christ—a complete lack of trust and respect for leadership.
So, before you choose the next person to fill the pulpit, ask yourself the question, “Do you want a good preacher or a good pastor?”