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  • Tabernacle Baptist Church

Duties, Tasks, and Responsibilities of a Pastor/Elder - 3/29/23

I personally believe the health of our church will only rise to the point of the expectations placed upon the leadership of the church. Because Jesus is our head, we should then expect to see our leadership lead in such a way that honors this divine relationship and accountability.

What should we expect from our Pastors?

According to D.A. Carson (For the Love of God, vol. 1, [Crossway: 1998] Nov. 2nd):

  • Feed (as a shepherd)

  • Defend (as a shepherd)

  • Guide (as a shepherd)

  • Discipline (as a shepherd)

  • Be mature (as an elder)

  • Be respected (as an elder)

  • Oversee (as an overseer)

  • Godly manage (as an overseer)

  • Hold in spiritual accountability (as an overseer)

According to Mark Dever (The Deliberate Church, [Crossway: 2005], 89-95):

  • The 4 P’s (from chapter 1)

    • Preaching, Prayer, Personal discipleship relationships, and Patience

  • Teaching/Preaching

  • Meet with staff

  • Be disciplined and stick to a workable schedule

  • Graze – feed the flock

  • Guide – direct, model, equip, and keep the flock

  • Guard – from false teachers and false teaching

Ligon Duncan’s job description as Senior Minister:

  1. Preach the Word

  2. Love the People

  3. Pray Down Heaven

  4. Promote Family Religion

  5. Train the Elders

  6. Under those 5, it is to live a godly life

John Piper’s take on the function of Elders:


  • 1 Timothy 5:17 – Let the elders who rule (proestotes) well be considered worthy of double honor.

  • 1 Timothy 3:4-5 – He must manage (proistamenon) his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does not know how to manage (prostenai)his own household, how can he care for God’s church?

  • Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2 – The duty of elders to “oversee” or “supervise” the flock implies a governing function.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:12 – But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you (proistamenous)in the Lord and admonish you.(No reference to “elders” but the function of the leaders is governing and the natural assumption is that the leaders are elders that Paul had appointed according to Acts 14:23.)

  • Hebrews 13:17 – Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. (Obedience and submission implies a role of leadership and governance. Again, the reference is probably to the elders, though the leaders are not described.)


  • Ephesians 4:11 – Pastors and teachers are pictured as one office, so that the pastor (whom we have identified as an elder) has the responsibility of teaching.

  • 1 Timothy 3:2 – The overseer must be “able to teach.” And we have seen that the overseer and elder are the same office. This qualification is not included in the list of qualifications for deacons.

  • 1 Timothy 5:17 – Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (Note that all have to be able to teach; but only some “labor,” that is, they devote more time and energy to it, perhaps earning their living by it. Each elder is vested with the right to teach and exercise authority in the church and so must have the qualifications for it.)

  • Titus 1:9 – He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it. (Note: Not all elders need to be able to do public preaching. The requirement is not for a preaching gift, but for a solid grasp of doctrine and ability to spot and correct errors and explain Biblical truth plainly.)

Conclusion – The function of elders may be summed up under two heads: teaching and governing. They are the doctrinal guardians of the flock and the overseers of the life of the church responsible to God for the feeding and care and ministry of the people.

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