Are Preachers and Pastors the Same Thing?
Preachers and pastors are two very different positions in the church. In reality, the word “pastor” should be used when talking about one of the elders in the church. The most basic definition for pastor is “a shepherd; one who has the care of flocks and herds.” If you have ever seen a shepherd guiding a flock of sheep, then you can picture this definition in your head. The elders are the shepherds, and the members in the congregation are the sheep. The apostle Peter, who was also an elder, mentioned that elders are to do certain jobs. He told elders to “shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).
A preacher, on the other hand, is not commanded to “shepherd” God’s people. The preacher’s job is to educate, not to oversee the church. Paul told Timothy that he should preach the Gospel and pay attention to the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). Basically, all Christians can teach the Gospel to other people, but this does not give them any authority over others in the church like elders (pastors) have.
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