The Difference Between a Preacher and a Pastor

Photo: Mee Lin Woon
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

In modern culture, we often use words interchangeably. Lately, I have seen the term “pastor” applied to anyone in ministry but this is not correct. As you can see in Ephesians, scripture makes a distinction between the roles people play in ministry. They are all important, but they all serve a distinct purpose.

Specifically, I wanted to write this to discuss the difference between a preacher and a pastor. An evangelist preaches, but he does not always teach. He, or she, might preach a sermon or revival and spread the word of Christ to a crowd. This is important. A pastor, on the other hand, has a flock that he cultivates. He teaches deeper understanding, he counsels the hurting, and he visits the sick. A pastor is usually associated with a church. A preacher, or evangelist, is not always a church pastor.

In simple terms, an evangelist might say “you need Jesus.” A pastor will add “here he is.”

We are all ministers to some extent, whether we realize it or not. People notice when we stumble and they pay attention when we do the next right thing as well. Some people go to church culturally. It’s just what is expected, especially in the Bible belt. When you truly accept Christ, there is a transformation in your soul and a new covenant in your heart.

When you are baptized, you accept an ordination into the ministry. All believers do this. It is not the same as a seminary ordination and is not a substitute for training and study in theology. So, don’t go start a church or set up pews in your living room. Baptism is a commitment. Jesus did this too. His ministry did not begin until his baptism when he was washed by a priest (ordained) according to custom and received the Holy Spirit. Baptism is not some water ritual in the church hot tub, it is a scriptural ordination in the body of Christ. Not everyone is a preacher, but we are all ministers.

We each play a different role in the ministry of Christ. All of them are important. When we look to a preacher for teaching, we may not get the depth we need to strengthen us. As the world looks on or faith as shallow and hypocritical, are we to blame for confusing the purpose of each piece of ministry? God has given each believer a different role to play.

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