The Difference Between Pastors and Preachers

January 6, 2014 in Featured

This may be the shortest article I’ve ever written, and yet, it just may be the article that costs All Praise Ministries some clients.  At APM, we are typically hired by the lead “pastor” of a church to work with the music and/or art department to help improve the worship experience for the congregation. Occasionally, but not often, a “pastor” may asks us to give them some feedback on their preaching style, or on his management style of the other leaders under him. But hardly ever will a “pastor” seek our advice past those boundaries. So, what I’m about to write wasn’t an opinion that was ordered, requested or suggested, and certainly not paid for.  But after 16 years of serving as church consultants, we’ve come to realize an underlying  cause to many of the common problems we find in the church: Preachers posing as Pastors.

Simply put, the definition of a pastor, as described by Websters is, “a spiritual overseer.”  The definition of a preacher is, “one who makes a speech about religion in a church or other public place.

There are many who are both preacher and pastor. These people understand that to be called “pastor” carries with it an obligation to oversee the flock. That word oversee means to physically watch or direct something or someone in order to make sure the desired result is achieved.” They understand that pastors can’t just cast a vision and hire people to execute it. That’s what a CEO does, but is not what defines a pastor. They understand pastoral duties require more than just simply showing up on Sundays to preach. They must watch over the flock. Guide them. Touch them personally. Be involved as much as humanly possible with the daily coming and going of the sheep.

But the ones who contribute to the most turmoil in a church are preachers who think they are pastors. Those who may go as far as casting the vision for the church and help implement the vision. They may hold the staff to the high bar set by that vision. But they separate themselves from the sheep. They place layers upon layers of people between themselves and the flock. Overtime, they loose sight of the core issues of their congregation and begin focusing on the issues associated with their church’s operation and organization. They begin to use excuses like, “if I’m to keep a clear vision for this church, I must remain separate and apart from the congregants.” Many of these types even preach about the hardships of their pastoral duties and complain about the “unfair” disadvantages of being a “pastor” who is responsible for such a huge vision. Although God actually calls pastors to place the needs of others above their own, many are focused on their vision and their plans for “the church.”

So,  simply put: If all you do is cast vision, hold staff meetings and show up on Sunday to preach. STOP CALLING YOURSELF A PASTOR! And for goodness sake, stop requiring others to call you pastor.