If you have ever been to or part of an assembly of believers (an “ekklésia” of believers – a “church” of believers), you have most likely called the leader of that church one of two things:
- a pastor
- a preacher.
The first thing that you have to understand is that the words pastor and preacher are not interchangeable. They don’t mean the same thing. This may be a difficult concept to grasp at first because modern society has been using these two words interchangeably for some time now. However, they are very different words with different etymologies.
Let’s start with the word Pastor. What does the word mean? The etymology of pastor is informed and derived from the combination of 2 words in the olde English:
n. [OE. schepherde, schephirde, AS. sceáphyrde; sceáp sheep + hyrde, hirde, heorde, a herd, a guardian. See Sheep, and Herd.]
Noah Porter, ed., Webster’s 1913 Unabridged English Dictionary, (Springfield, Mass.: G. C. Merriam Co., 1913), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Shepherd”.
Sheep + herd. Fairly simple and straight forward – Shepherd. A shepherd is someone that cares for sheep. He makes sure they have food and water. He watches over them. He protects them from being ravaged by wolves. He leads them to greener pastures.
The word pastor is informed and derived from the olde English word shepherd. The word shepherd is informed and derived from the Hebrew word רָעָה rāʿāh. Phonetically, raw-aw’.
The first and most common meaning is “to pasture,” “to tend,” “to graze.” This primary root occurs over 150 times. Many versions, including the KJV, often render it as “to feed,” but the meaning actually goes beyond feeding to include all the responsibilities of caring for animals.
Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “7749,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Pe-Resh,
In the text, those that feed and care for the people are often referred to as shepherds. In the text, shepherd does NOT mean godly. Pagan kings were also called shepherds of their people. King Cyrus the polytheistic king (worshiped more than one god) was called shepherd.
Yes, King Cyrus was be called a pastor in the text.
Isaiah 44:28 (CJB)
28 I say of Koresh (Cyrus),
‘He is my shepherd,
he will do everything I want.
He will say of Yerushalayim, “You will be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Your foundation will be laid.”’”
There were shepherds (pastors) that led people astray:
Jeremiah 23:1-6 (CJB – “pastor” added for emphasis)
1 “Oh no!
The shepherds (pastors) are destroying and scattering the sheep in my pasture!” says Adonai.
2 Therefore this is what Adonai, the God of Isra’el,
says against the shepherds (pastors) who shepherd (pastor) my people:
“You have scattered my flock,
driven them away and not taken care of them.
So I will ‘take care of’ you because of your evil deeds,” says Adonai.
3 “I myself will gather what remains of my flock
from all the countries where I have driven them
and bring them back to their homes,
and they will be fruitful and increase their numbers.
4 I will appoint shepherds (pastors) over them
who will shepherd (pastor) them;
then they will no longer be afraid or disgraced;
and none will be missing,” says Adonai.
5 “The days are coming,” says Adonai
when I will raise a righteous Branch for David.
He will reign as king and succeed,
he will do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Y’hudah will be saved,
Isra’el will live in safety,
and the name given to him
will be Adonai Tzidkenu [Adonai our righteousness].
There were evil shepherds (pastors) in the text such as the ones above and the entire chapter of Ezekiel 34, and there were good shepherds in the text. Maybe you know the following:
John 10:11 (CJB– “pastor” added for emphasis)
11 “I am the good shepherd (pastor).
The good shepherd (pastor) lays down his life for the sheep.
Yeshua (Jesus) was the model of the good shepherd – the good pastor.
So then, maybe you are asking, “What is a preacher, if pastor and preacher are not the same thing?
The etymology of preacher is informed and derived from the the olde French: preecheor,” which was informed by the Latin praedicātor, which is informed by the Greek word κήρυξ kērux, which is informed by the Hebrew word כָּרוֹז kārôz – herald. Someone who “crys out.”
Preacher means to cry out – one who makes something publicly known. He is a proclaimer.
Preacher does NOT mean godly. Town Criers were preachers. Greek orators were preachers. Senators and Congressmen were and are preachers. The president of the United States is a preacher.
They cry out. They make things publically known. They proclaim.
In the text, there was a prophet that stated:
Isaiah 40:3 (CJB)
3 A voice cries out:
“Clear a road through the desert for Adonai!
Level a highway in the ‘Aravah for our God!
Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) was a “preacher” and he was the one that Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) in the above verse is prophesying about:
Matthew 3:1-3 (CJB)
1 It was during those days
that Yochanan the Immerser
arrived in the desert of Y’hudah and began proclaiming the message,
2 “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”
3 This is the man Yesha‘yahu was talking about
when he said,
“The voice of someone crying out:
‘In the desert prepare the way of Adonai!
Make straight paths for him!’”
Yeshua (Jesus) was also a preacher:
Matthew 4:17 (CJB)
17 From that time on, Yeshua (Jesus)
began proclaiming (heralding – preaching),
“Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”
As you can see from the text, Yeshua was both a pastor AND a preacher. Yes, He was both!
So why the title of this piece? TOO MANY PASTORS . . . not enough Preachers!
To understand this, we must first look at the following verse in the text about Noach. Noach, and the 7 members of his family that he shepherded (pastored), weren’t preserved because he was a shepherd of that family. Noach was preserved because he was one that “cried out – “preached,” and “cried out/preached” about something specific . . . righteousness!
2 Peter 2:5 (CJB)
5 And he did not spare the ancient world;
on the contrary,
he preserved Noach, a herald (preacher) of righteousness,
with seven others, and brought the Flood upon a world of ungodly people.
Noach was a preacher of RIGHTEOUSNESS . . .
Yeshua was a preacher of RIGHTEOUSNESS!
He tells us some startling things:
- Matthew 5:20 (CJB)
20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P’rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
- Matthew 7:21 (CJB)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants.
- Mark 10:15 (CJB)
15 Yes! I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it!”
- Matthew 19:23 (CJB)
23 Then Yeshua said to his talmidim, “Yes. I tell you that it will be very hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Luke 13:3 (CJB)
3 No, I tell you. Rather, unless you turn to God from your sins, you will all die as they did!
Yeshua is saying something simple . . .
“turn from your UN-righteousness towards righteousness”
“turn from your sins to God”
So who defines sins, God or the church?
I ask this simple question so that we can be clear here – so that there are no misunderstandings . . .
We have a ton of pastors in this world. Some do a very good job of protecting their flocks from unrighteousness that comes from cultural acceptance of societal norms. Societal norms are the human standard – the worldly standard, NOT the Holy standard!
It is the pastors, more than anyone else that influence the flocks. From their pulpits on any given Saturday or Sunday, you will hear them more often that not, talk about their favorite secular movies, their favorite secular songs, their favorite secular sports heroes . . .
It is the shepherds that inculcate to their flocks that worldly is just a matter on conscience . . .
It is the shepherds that are teaching their flocks that unrighteous is permissible . . .
It is the shepherds that are teaching their flocks the Pharisees are hypocrites, not them . . .
And while guys like pastor advocate Thom Ranier address many of the problems that pastors face in the church today in his blog, most of the time, his posts are only addressing the symptoms and not the root cause . . .
The shepherds have become luke warm . . .
It is almost embarrassing reading some of the responses he gets from pastor’s in his blog whining about what a tough job being a pastor is . . . While it is tough, it is not a job – it is a calling.
Not many pastors on his blog complaining about mary-jo-pulpit-goer would like the life of being a talmidim (disciple) in the time of Yeshua . . . disciples that died gruesome deaths.
True enough, they didn’t have to worry that the music they played might cause people to send them a fiery email threatening to leave . . .
True enough, they didn’t have to worry about a pastor not taking a raise and hurting the next pastor’s chance of making more money (Yes this was a tweet by Thom encouraging pastors to take the raises . . . sigh)
It is the pastors that are missing the mark and not protecting their flocks because they refuse to CRY OUT – to PREACH –
TURN FROM YOUR SINS TO GOD!
MAKE STRAIGHT PATHS FOR ADONAI!
I say this to their shame because Yeshua is very clear . . .
UN-righteousness will lead you straight to to hell . . .
You see, being a pastor, does not necessarily make you a preacher of righteousness. If it did, there would be no such thing as a homosexual that is ordained.
However, if you are a preacher of righteousness first – like Noach, then you are are also a pastor (shepherd) to those that you would protect and guard because you making God’s definition of righteousness the BASIS for what you do.
A preacher of righteousness does NOT cry out: homosexuality is okay . . . or ignore it
A preacher of righteousness does NOT cry out: abortion is okay . . . or ignore it
A preacher of righteousness does NOT cry out: secular is okay . . . or promote it
A preacher of righteousness does NOT copy a Christian album they have and share it with another without them paying for it . . .
You see, we have a pastor . . . a good shepherd:
John 10:11 (CJB)
11 “I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:14 (CJB)
14 I am the good shepherd;
I know my own, and my own know me —
Yes the Lord is our shepherd – our pastor . . .
Psalm 23:1-6 (CJB)
1 Adonai is my shepherd;
I lack nothing.
2 He has me lie down in grassy pastures,
he leads me by quiet water,
3 he restores my inner person.
He guides me in right paths
for the sake of his own name.
4 Even if I pass through death-dark ravines,
I will fear no disaster;
for you are with me;
your rod and staff reassure me.
5 You prepare a table for me,
even as my enemies watch;
you anoint my head with oil
from an overflowing cup.
6 Goodness and grace will pursue me
every day of my life;
and I will live in the house of Adonai
for years and years to come.
With the Lord for a shepherd, what we need is a lot less shepherds and a lot more preachers . . .
A lot more people Crying Out what the the Lord says is good and bad . . .
Men like Noach that proclaim righteousness . . . .
It was PREACHER, not a pastor, that the Lord found favor with and decided to spare the world.
The word “preacher” has become a negative thing:
Ewww, he so preachy . . .
You’re preaching to the choir . . .
Don’t preach at me . . . .
The following is pastoring because it is PREACHING first . . . .
2 Peter 3:3-7 (CJB)
3 First, understand this:
during the Last Days,
scoffers will come,
following their own desires
4 and asking,
“Where is this promised ‘coming’ of his?
For our fathers have died,
and everything goes on just as it has since the beginning of creation.”
5 But, wanting so much to be right about this,
they overlook the fact
that it was by God’s Word that long ago there were heavens,
and there was land which arose out of water and existed between the waters,
6 and that by means of these things
the world of that time was flooded with water and destroyed.
7 It is by that same Word
that the present heavens and earth, having been preserved,
are being kept for fire until the Day of Judgment,
when ungodly people will be destroyed.
I would end with the following:
“It is only when we preach first, that pastoring even becomes relevant”