the weblog of Alan Knox

The difference between Pastor as a gifting and Pastor as a title/position

Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 in blog links | 10 comments

The difference between Pastor as a gifting and Pastor as a title/position

Thanks to Jon at “Jon’s Journey” for pointing us to a great quote by Dan Kimball. You can find the quote in Jon’s post called “Dan Kimball is not your pastor.”

Yes, many, many people use the term “pastor” as a title or position, and many of them assume that the title/position pastor infers the gifting or service (or vice versa). But, in the little excerpt on Jon’s blog, at least one more person is recognizing the difference between the title and the gifting/service.

I was at a street corner, I’m getting into my car and a car honked. These college-aged girls were looking over and waving. I’m looking up and I’m like “I don’t know who they are.” Then the light turns green and they yell in unison “you’re our pastor!” as they’re driving away. I’m just like, “I’m their pastor? I don’t even know who they are.” A pastor who shepherds knows their sheep, knows if one is missing.

The problem, of course, is that when we use the term “pastor” as a title for a position, that’s what people read into Scripture, much like when they read the terms “church,” “minister,” “preach,” etc. We must be very careful about how we use words.

Irony… in the original article that Jon links to, Dan Kimball is referred to as “Pastor Dan Kimball”…


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  1. 8-23-2012

    Thanks Alan. Yes, that is ironic. It shows how difficult it is to rethink how we use labels. I guess the editor didn’t feel “brother Dan Kimball” or “staff member at Vintage Faith Church” would describe him well enough.

  2. 8-23-2012


    Old habits die hard. :)


  3. 8-23-2012

    I’m quite sure Chuck or even you, Alan, will possibly seek to pull some Greek out to refute this next statement of mine, but I view the word “pastor” as a verb moreso than a title/position.

    One pastors, as in, one shepherds. It denotes active action.

    I refuse, to this day, to refer to anyone, male or female, as “pastor”. But I’m kinda rude like that. :)

  4. 8-23-2012


    While the term pastor/shepherd used in Ephesians 4:11 is a noun, I agree that it is attached with verbal meaning, as are nouns apostle, prophet, evangelist, and teacher. So, I agree with you.

    I don’t use the term “pastor” as a title either.


  5. 8-23-2012

    Noun or verb . . . their fruit will tell me. :-)

  6. 8-24-2012


    Yes, exactly.


  7. 8-24-2012

    Try the title “Father”… it even has some opposing scripture if taken literally.

  8. 8-24-2012


    Have you seen the series that I’m writing about how Paul refers to other believers? The latest post is about the father/child language that he uses, and I’ll continue that theme in the next post, while will probably be published next week.


  9. 8-25-2012

    Pastor as position is taught in seminaries. Not the Bible. Seminaries train folks to be title-holders. The Bible teaches how to be soul winners. Hello.

  10. 8-27-2012


    Believe it or not, there are a few people who are part of seminaries who do not teach that “pastor” is a position/title. But, from what I’ve seen, these are few and far between.