Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
You will note that I have combined Pastors and Teachers into one Spiritual Gift. Although it would appear that they are two separate gifts, the original Greek indicates that the two form one special gift. Therefore this passage could read – ‘… and some pastor teachers’ or ‘… and some shepherd teachers.’ The word ‘pastor’ actually means shepherd.
The Gift of Pastor Teacher is demonstrated in two primary ways:
- Those in leadership
- Those in supportive roles
1. Pastor Teacher as a Leader
Peter provides a good explanation of how this gift pertains to those in leadership; often known as the Pastor.
1 Peter 5:1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Many believe that a more biblical title would be ‘Elder.’ Note that Peter addresses ‘the elders who are among you’ as well as calling himself a ‘fellow elder.’ This title is also used in a similar fashion in Acts 20:17; 1 Tim 5:17; and Titus 1:5.
Peter instructs the elders to ‘shepherd the flock of God.’ They do so by ‘serving as overseers’, which is actually the word translated in other passages as ‘Bishop.’ (Php 1:1; 1 Tim 3:1-2; Titus 1:7) In other words, Elders are to bishop or oversee the church.
Here is another way of explaining this-
Elder is the title
Bishop is the duty
Pastor Teacher is the spiritual gift that enables the Elder to fulfill his duty
Elders are to oversee the flock –
1) Not by lording over the flock with their authority
2) But by:
a. Shepherding them by personal example (1 Pet 5:3)
b. Shepherding them through biblical teaching (Eph 4:11)
Some believe that such leaders should never be called Pastors but instead Elders. However, note that the Lord Jesus is called – The Chief Shepherd. The word shepherd could be translated as pastor, therefore this passage could read – The Chief Pastor. Though the title Elder may be more biblical, I personally prefer Pastor. To me that focuses less on the man and more on his ministry.