Most Pastors Stink at Their Jobs

Most pastors stink at their jobs. That is not a criticism, it is a compliment. By which I mean most pastors stink at their jobs if they are doing it right. So do most evangelists for that matter. But evangelists stink of fish, not sheep.

As I have pointed out in “God’s Fantastic Five” our understanding of the role of a “pastor” is more cultural than Biblical. God’s plan is never one man/woman leading a church. After Paul established churches all over in the Biblical world he appointed a team of Five Fold elders to lead each one.

Acts 14:23 (NASB) “When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” And that is still God’s plan for His church today.

Biblical Role of Pastor

The Good Shepherd Carrying a Lamb.

Biblically a person who leads the Five Fold Team that leads the church is not necessarily a Pastor. Pastors are those who care directly for the flock. They are shepherds of the spiritual sheep. And because of their daily close contact with the sheep shepherds in Bible times had one distinguishing mark - they stank. You could smell them coming. They lived with the sheep; they slept among the sheep, usually in the doorway of the enclosure, putting themselves between the sheep and danger; they tended the sheep, pouring oil on their heads to keep the flies way and protect them from heatstroke; they would carry the injured lambs on their shoulders; their hands were all over the sheep, removing tormenting pests from their wool, and debris weighing them down; they had intimate knowledge of the needs and uniqueness of each of the sheep, calling them each by name; they lived with and for the sheep. And they were continually stepping into sheep dung. No wonder the Egyptians found shepherds detestable. They stank.

And true Pastors have the same distinguishing mark. Because of their continual close contact with “the sheep” they stink. Theirs is not an insulated life, continually protecting their privacy with five layers of separation. Theirs is a life of joyous involvement in the nitty-gritty down-and-dirty where-the-rubber-hits-the-road aspects of the lives of those to whom they minister. They serve the sheep with an open heart and quite often an open home to all who are in need.

Protecting Privacy

This is not to criticize ministry leaders who do protect their privacy. They are right to do so. But continually isolating oneself from the sheep simply means that while that leader may be an Apostle, or Teacher, or Prophet, and they may be the primary ministry person leading a Five Fold Team, they are not a Pastor.

I am a minister of the gospel. I preach, teach, and prophesy, and I write, but as much as I love people I can only spend very limited time among them. I am definitely not a pastor. And neither are most leaders who carry that title.

Prophets may be strange; ok, usually they are strange. But most times they don’t stink.


W. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at the 23 Psalm

Psalm 23.
The Good Shepherd.

I have written just a short summary of some things a Shepherd would do. I recommend to you W. Phillip Keller’s, A Shepherd Looks at the 23 Psalm, a wonderful book which goes into much more detail. It was written by a man who first worked as a shepherd of a flock of sheep, and later became a pastor in a small congregation. It is one of the best books I have read on what it means for the Lord to be our Shepherd, and also what it means to be a Pastor. Many years ago it profoundly affected both my relationship with God, and my ministry in His church.

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