The term “pastor” has, in many cases, come to mean “senior leader” of the church. But, in reality, “pastor” is but one of the five-fold ministry gifts given to the church. A congregation that expects their senior leader to not only fulfill the responsibiliies of pastor, (shepherd), but also as the visionary (apostle), God’s spokesperson (prophet), soul-winner (evangelist) and trainer (teacher) is expecting more of their leader than that leader is capable of. It simply can’t be done by one person. That’s why God gave the five-fold ministry gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:11, 12).
It’s been my observation that the growing, thriving churches aren’t led by a five-fold pastor, but by an apostle, prophet or evangelist who can bring the sheep in. But, that leader has a five-fold pastor working alongside who is responsible for tending to the flock. Pastors’ strengths, generally, are not conducive to church growth, but church maintenance, taking care of those who are part of the church community. The leaders’ strengths, on the other hand, are conducive to church growth by catching a vision for the church and imparting that vision, first to the leaders, then to the congregation and, ultimately, to the area in which the church is planted.
The church that recognizes that all five ministry gifts are needed to fully function is best able to fulfill its purpose and to grow. Stan DeKoven, President of Vision International University, said in the school’s recent newsletter, “Pastors are but (at best) 1/5 of the team members required to equip God’s people for mature Christian living, and probably more than the 5-fold are needed to impart the requisite skills for the next generation of leaders/pastors.” When we look at Ephesians 4:11, 12, we see the five-fold leaders’ roles are not to do the work of the ministry, but to “equip the saints”, or, as the NIV says, “to prepare God’s people” for that work.
In conclusion, we must not expect more of our senior leader than he is capable of doing. We should be working to raise up a leadership team of five-fold ministers under the Headshhip of Jesus Christ and the congregational leadership of one who can capture the vision and impart it to his team and the church. The result, as found in Ephesians 4:13, will be unity, clarity, and maturity as we find our identity in Christ.