Denominations seemingly don’t know the difference between a preacher and a pastor. What is sad, some in the church don’t either. So, what are the duties of a preacher and a pastor? A preacher is a herald, who gives a proclamation or message. Noah is referred to as a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet 2:5). Solomon calls himself a preacher (Eccl. 1:1). Jonah was a preacher (Jon 3:2). Peter, James, John, Timothy, Paul and others were preachers. Paul said that he was ordained a preacher and an apostle, and a teacher (1 Tim. 2:7). A preacher is also called an evangelist. It means a messenger of good, and indicates a public proclaimer. A preacher is also a minister of the gospel (Acts 6:4 cf; 21:8). In 2 Tim. 4:1-5 Paul tells Timothy to “preach the word,” to “do the work of an evangelist,” and to “make full proof of your ministry.” It is true that all Christians are to be ministers of Christ, or servants of Christ, but all Christians are not ministers of the word in the sense that preachers are. Christian men and women differ in how they serve God. Only men were given the responsibility of preaching and teaching God’s Word and this to all the world (2 Tim 2:2 f; Mt 28:19,20). Women were prohibited to teach or usurp the authority over man (1 Tim 2:11,12). In the assembly of the saints women were prohibited from any speaking position (1 Cor 14:33-40). Aged women were commanded younger women to love their husband and obey him, to love their children, and to be chaste keepers at home (Tit 2:3-5). qualified men on the other hand are commanded to preach, teach, and to lead and are not to neglect their duties.
A pastor is the same as an elder or bishop and is distinguished from the evangelist or preacher (Eph. 4:11). A pastor is a shepherd, one who tends a flock. In the New Testament every fully organized church had a plurality of pastors to oversee the local flock. Pastors guide as well as feed the flock (Acts 20:28). They are pastors (shepherds) because of their care for the flock, in tending, guiding, feeding and watching (Heb 13:7,17).
If a preacher is also selected by that church as one of the elders, then the said preacher is also a pastor. Simon Peter was both a preacher and an elder (1 Pet. 5:1-4). Not all preachers are qualified to be a pastor. As a married man with children, Peter could have been selected as an elder, but the apostle Paul could not, for he had no wife or children.
A preacher and the elders (pastors) are distinctly different appointments and should not be confused as being one and the same. The pastors oversee the work of the local church. A preacher (under the oversight of the pastors) does his own work of preaching and teaching publicly and from house to house (Acts 20:20).
Some local churches expect the preacher to do the work of the pastors (with regards to discipline problems, visiting the sick, taking care of new converts, etc.), while the elders drop down to the next notch and perform the work the deacons ought to be doing (benevolence, counting money, keeping books, caring for the property, etc.). This results in the preacher doing the work of the pastors, the pastors doing the work of the deacons, and the frustrated deacons are in name only. All Christians have a work to do for the Lord, but not all are assigned the same work. Preachers are to preach! Pastors are to guide! Deacons are to serve!