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  • Writer's pictureAbraham Williams

Preacher, Pastor, and Prophet: Who am I?

I hope you have had a great week so far as you start this reading. I want to inform you from the beginning that you are loved!

So ever since I began ministry, I have had a behind-the-scenes look at different types of pastors and have been able to adjust my view of what strengths a pastor should have and my expectations. So I will state that my biggest downfall and something I have worked on but from time to time has crept up is I have unreal expectations that I place on myself, I force myself to go above and beyond not because someone asks me to but my mental take and determination push me. That might produce some great things, but it also isn’t healthy. I didn’t realize that till about two years ago at my last church. I had set unrealistic goals for me as a pastor and I could work 60-70 hours a week and still not achieve something acceptable to my standards. I have an accountability partner who is a pastor and one day I was moaning and groaning about how I was down because I didn’t get the result I wanted on an event. My dear friend stops me and reads me the riot act on what a pastor is supposed to be and do and not one part was to put on a show just to get numbers and create a good presentation.

I think we have made mistakes in the church where we have combined business leadership and showmanship into being a pastor. When I attended Mount Vernon Nazarene University the joke on campus was the typical pastor stereotype needed to sing and find a pastor’s wife that could play the piano. It seems we have forgotten the different types of ministers of the gospel present to us as what we consider a minister. Maybe we have set unrealistic expectations for pastors and tried to make them fit a mold that they are not called to be in.

I began ministry wanting to be something I wasn’t. I wanted to be a preacher like the ones I was watching on YouTube or college. But that wasn’t me. There are different types of ministers, and I didn’t discover that till the riot act my friend gave me two years ago.

The three I am going to bring up are Preacher, Pastor, and Prophet. These are roles a minister can have as they present the gospel.

Preacher – The Greek word “κήρυξ/kērux” referred to “a herald or messenger vested with public authority” [Thayer, word no. 2783 via e-Sword]. In the New Testament, a “preacher” proclaims the gospel of the Lord Jesus. Paul fit into that category, stating that Jesus brought life and immortality to light “Through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles ” (2 Timothy 1:10,11).

The role of a gospel preacher is to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). The way I have viewed Preacher is the one who can preach for two hours and the congregates sit there and say “more please”. They are strong and gifted in verbiage and able to communicate the Gospel in such an enamoring way. I am not that…and that is ok. The preacher spends a lot of his time studying and prepping for the sermon through ways like reading books, dialoguing with fellow theologians to strengthen their message points, communication training like public speaking, etc.

Pastor - The word “pastor” simply means a shepherd. In the Old Testament era, leaders of the nation of Israel were designated as “pastors” or “shepherds.” Concerning the ungodly leaders during the days of Jeremiah, God said, “Woe to the shepherds [‘pastors,’ KJV] who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture” (Jeremiah 23:1).

Did you know that in the New Testament the word “pastor” is used only one time? “And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). The word “ποιμήν/poimēn” refers to a shepherd/pastor. this is a minister who can preach a solid biblical message and bring people

to the feet of Jesus but their gifting is the congregation.

The pastor must make the spiritual wellness of the body a priority rather than the message. Instead of spending hours and hours studying to be like the preacher the pastor meets and counsels his flock. He trains in ways to deal with congregational problems like depression, marriages, drug issues, etc. This is me. My heart is to be a pastor to my flock. To help guide them and equip them in the journey of life. I jump in the trenches of their life and help dig the mud out and prepare for the battle of life.

Prophet - These were men or women who received direct messages from the Holy Spirit and then communicated those revelations to humans (2 Peter 1:20,21). They served as God’s mouthpiece/ spokesperson, speaking in place of God to humans. God told Moses that Aaron “

shall be your spokesman to the people. And he shall be as a mouth for you . . .” (Exodus 4:16). God further told Moses, “. . . Aaron your brother shall be your prophet” (Exodus 7:1). So, Aaron served as Moses’ prophet, meaning that he was his mouthpiece.

I still believe some ministers are gifted to be prophets. They are the ones who are standing on the mountain calling God’s people to turn back to him. I have always been a huge Billy Graham fan. I believe he was a prophet that was used to calling the church and its people back to God. I think in our world today some ministers are being used as prophets and are facing backlash and hatred for speaking about God’s truth. A prophet prepares himself by basking his life in prayer and creating a dialogue with God’s people daily, and they have become some of the most attacked people in the church.

When I began ministry I wanted so bad to be a preacher but my heart and gifting that is special to me that God so blessed me with created me to be a pastor. I have seen all three of these in the church and all three have a huge part as ministers and each is equal in the kingdom of God. Maybe you have had an unrealistic view of your pastor or maybe you have been looking at him in the wrong light.

May you understand just how unique God created you and how comparing yourself against other ministers isn't healthy or biblical. Be who God has created you to be. Beautiful.

Grace & Peace,

Rev. Abraham Williams

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