Pastors are called to stewardship.
Of course, one could say that this is the calling of every believer. And they would be correct. The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 demonstrates that we are all to be stewards of whatever God has given us.
While this is certainly true, and every believer should take it seriously, the role of the pastor brings with it significant responsibility. Much is given. And much is expected. He should strive to manage all well.
What is a pastor to steward? Time, influence, people, ministry resources, and the Word of God, to name a weighty few.
- The pastor as a steward of time. The pastor’s day is easily filled with activity. There are sermons to write. There are weddings to officiate. There are people to visit in the hospital. There are staff meetings to lead. And in all this busyness, health can get set aside, a marriage can get set aside, family can get set aside, and spiritual vitality can get set aside. Neglecting priorities under the guise of ministry ultimately leads to brokenness of self and others. Pastors are to be stewards of time.
- The pastor as a steward of influence. A pastor’s life is a watched life. A pastor’s word is a noted word, taken to heart by its hearer. Special qualifications are appropriately set for the role of pastor. Not everyone can or should be one. The pastor’s ability to influence his congregation is great. Certainly, he has his pulpit to wield influence. But he also has his conversations and his actions. They all carry a special weight behind them. And they must use this inspiration and authority to bring God glory, not themselves. Pastors are stewards of influence.
- The pastor as a steward of people. A pastor has his staff. He also has his volunteers, those who serve the church without pay. The church has needs. It has roles and responsibilities that must be filled. Each staff person or volunteer has gifts and skills to bring to the table. To the best of his ability, the pastor should try to match the need with the person. This is best for both the person and the church. Pastors are stewards of people.
- The pastor as a steward of ministry resources. Whether plentiful or scarce, most pastors have resources under their care. They have money, facilities, and equipment. And these things can all be either abused or used to advance God’s Kingdom. How will the money be spent? How will the facilities and equipment be used? These are questions pastors must answer. They should be approached with wisdom as the ignoring or abuse of either can injure the church and its ministry. Pastors are stewards of ministry resources.
- The pastor as a steward of the Word. The weight of teaching God’s Word is great. The Bible tells us that we are to correctly teach the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15). A mishandling of Scripture can have eternal ramifications. There is simply no room for laziness on the part of the teaching pastor, because life-saving Truth is at stake. So the pastor must approach the stage, having studied the Scripture, knowing what it says and what it does not say. And he must teach it in a manner that is understood by his listeners. Pastors are stewards of the Word.
Our great God has placed a great calling on the lives of pastors. Their management of resources and responsibility provided by God has great ramifications, not just in the present, but also for all eternity. It is a great, yet joyful, weight that should only be approached with prayer and wisdom. This is the pastor as steward.
ABOUT: Art Rainer serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a co-founder of Rainer Publishing. He has written three books, Raising Dad, Simple Life, and The Minister’s Salary. He is married to his wife, Sarah, and they have three sons.