The Man Behind the Pulpit

The many sides of clergy responsibility

It's a job description that even Superman might think twice about: executive, counselor, soldier, manager, coach, teacher, legal expert, friend, master of ceremonies and, at times, construction worker and janitor. Who could possibly be expected to do these things as part of a normal routine? The local pastor! Maybe he didn't bargain for all this. No doubt he feels inadequate. Sometimes he fails. But all of these areas of expertise are indeed part of a pastor's job.

I once saw a cartoon picturing a small boy looking up at his pastor after church and saying, "What do you do with yourself the other days of the week?" Nearly every pastor would give much the same response: "If only you knew!" A pastor's weekly routine includes these duties:

Executive. Important decisions must be reached as to church policy on a variety of issues. Sometimes policy is made in conjunction with boards and committees. At other times, decisions must be made on the spot with little time for consultation.

Counselor. Without a doubt, the most sought-after givers of advice and guidance are still the clergy. Pastors, priests and rabbis help millions every year, and usually do so for free. Did I hear something about clergy being mercenary?

Soldier. The Bible speaks of spiritual warfare involving people's souls and the unseen forces of evil. Foremost in this conflict are often pastors who are regularly expected to be fearless, skillful in combat, slow to retreat. Our weapons are God's word, persistence and prayer. Our ally, the Holy Spirit.

Manager. Every church, large or small, has a program. Programs can be as simple as the order of the Sunday worship service, or as complex as a full-blown Christian educational system. The pastor is usually a key figure in enabling these church programs to run smoothly.

Coach. Everyone needs someone to motivate and develop the important skills it takes to compete in the game of life. A minister is often one who stands on the sidelines providing pointers and encouragement to improve the individual and advance the team.

Teacher. The Bible is an amazing textbook on the realities of the world around us. It speaks of God and people; choices; attitudes and world-views. It brings a message of reconciliation between God and people through Christ. This supremely beneficial course is offered at your local church without tuition costs. The pastor is to teach this course material in a way that is interesting, relevant and in-depth.

Lawyer. The local clergy can also be counted on to come to the defense of their people in times of trouble. They visit the jails, write letters on parishioners' behalf and argue the case for the gospel before the jury of the world.

Friend. Your pastor or minister is the one you expect to be concerned for you even when you haven't been around for awhile. He is the one who will look you in the eye and tell it like it is--in love. He is the one who urges you to become more than you have been and to follow Christ wholeheartedly. It is this role in which the pastor often shines brightest.

Master of Ceremonies. He is the host, the comedian, the one who officiates at important events for you and your family. He must have the charm of the talk show host and the decorum of a head of state.

Oh yes---don't forget the variety of other jobs which, in some churches, simply go with the position. It is not unusual for the pastor to clean a restroom or two, fold bulletins, work with youth, participate in a construction project and secure the building after services. While there are some exceptions, the Christian ministry is still an honorable profession. It is served, for the most part, by honorable men and women. Now more than ever, with the image of clergy tarnished by a few highly publicized bad apples, it is nice to know that you really can trust that amazing man behind the pulpit!

Michael Bogart mbogart.com

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Comments 2 comments

Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California

It's quite the task to juggle many hats. Hats off to the man behind the pulpit!

Someone once said, "The church will take you for everything you've got. And if you allow it, they will come back for more." The balance of priorities are key in the life of the pastor or leader. Moses' father-in-law got it right - delegation for justice. The Apostle Peter got it right - selection for service.

The church ought to take a spiritual inventory of the member's gifts and distribute the task accordingly. Sadly, there are pastors who neglect the wisdom behind the selection and delegation of their members thereby trapping themselves in a jack-of-all-trades syndrome. The concept behind "every member a minster" will indeed free the man behind the pulpit in order to devote himself "to prayer and to serving the word" (Ac 6:4).

I know of three churches in recent years, that experienced a crisis in leadership. All their former pastors have aged and suffered from severe heart conditions. While incapacitated to serve, the church hadn't executed a leadership contingency plan of action. Since they took it for granted that the pastor does everything, no one was trained or groomed for the pastoral position.

Good hub. Lots of challenging things behind the pulpit to revisit, rethink and revise for the sanity of the pastor, effectivity of the church, and the glory of God.


Michael Bogart 7 years ago

Gicky-- Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comment. Sounds like you have either had experience with the pastorate or observed it closely.

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