The Pastor and Prophet

I’m a preacher and minister, so my official “job” title says. Not a pastor and prophet. But the more and more I serve in ministry the more it seems that pastor and prophet is a better job description.

I don’t mean prophet in the sense of like Isaiah the Prophet or John the Baptist, who have an inspired word from God. I mean prophet as one who spends time in the word of God, listening to what God is saying while understanding the culture in order to point the way of God for the times we live in today. Sometimes this prophet still gets it wrong and that is why the people of God must test the words of the prophet (cf. 1 Thess 5:20), but prophet this disciple of Jesus is.

And I don’t mean pastor as someone who is spiritually above the rest of the flock. Any pastor worthy of the calling is a sheep first. That is, the pastor is a follower of Jesus and therefore a humble servant among the people rather than a master over the people. That’s also why it’s called ministry because it is about serving.

But as I said, the more I serve in ministry the more it seems that pastor and prophet is a better job description.

It’s not just standing up to preach for a little while during a worship gathering. Every minister know the depth of emotion and self-giving love poured into the preparation of that sermon because the minister knows who is going to hear that word—the couple whose marriage is falling apart, the one whose child is struggling through depression or addiction, the one who is living with chronic illness, and the one who keeps justifying sin.  The minister prays that this will be the day when the word preached becomes a word of hope and encouragement, a word that brings repentance, a word that calls a somewhat a church-goer out of their religiosity and into faithful life of following Jesus.  If not during the message, then perhaps during a chat over coffee or dinner.

There’s the vision to be cast too so that the church may always go towards the future rather than settled in the land of complacency.  Of course, sometimes pursuing that vision is seems so difficult.  Because sometimes there are other issues that must be dealt with (and every minister knows the issues).  But whatever it be, it is the task . . . the work of the pastor and prophet among God’s people for the sake of God’s glory and mission.

So the church might call on someone to be their preacher and minister but after nearly fifteen years spent in ministry, it really seems that they’re calling for is a pastor and prophet.  Just saying…

But you can still call me the preacher or minister!  Or you can just call me “Rex” and that will be fine too.

6 responses to “The Pastor and Prophet

  1. I have always liked the term Prophet. And the way I see it biblical prophets spent more time telling people the word of God than they did “predicting the future.” Great post that resonates with what I have believed for a long time. First time I’v seen it written about.

    • Thanks for the comment. I used to think of a prophet as a fortune-teller but not any more. That’s not to say that some prophets in the Bible did not make claims regarding the future, as we know they did, but that they were pointing people back to the word of God as a call to repentance, a promise of hope, and so on.


    • Good question. My simple answer is that I see the role of the prophet as someone who discerns the way of the Lord, often in difficult times, pointing and calling the people into that way. The pastor is more shepherding by teaching and caring for the people.

      I hope that helps.


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