And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)
What Is The Difference Between An Evangelist And A Pastor?
The pattern of the New Testament organization of the church was simplistic in its design. While modern religion has created a vast array of offices with confusing titles, the Holy Spirit originally set forth a clear blueprint of how God wanted the church of Christ to be designed. The apostle Paul reminds the saints in the church at Ephesus of the divine pattern when he writes that God gave some men to serve as apostles (Peter, Barnabas, Paul), some prophets (Agabus), some evangelists (Philip), and some pastors (Peter) and teachers. These were men who would equip the saints for the work of ministry and the building up of the local congregations. Each one had a peculiar work to accomplish according to their placement and the purpose of their calling. In the modern school of religion, there is the frequent use of the term pastor to refer to a preacher or a minister in charge of a Christian church or congregation. Another term attached to the idea of a pastor is where they are ordained or not but in many cases does not suggest an ordination. In the Roman Catholic Church, the man called a pastor is an ordained priest. Actually, the English word ‘pastor’ appears once in the Bible in the text of Ephesians 4:11.
What is the difference between a pastor and an evangelist? In the minds of many people, there is no difference but the Bible makes a distinction and a clarification between a pastor and an evangelist that has been lost in religious circles today. The term pastor in the original language of the Bible is the Greek word ‘Poimaino’ meaning “to feed” or “to shepherd.” A pastor was also called an ‘elder,’ or ‘bishop’ or ‘shepherd.’ The role of a pastor was to feed the flock, guide the flock and to shepherd the people of God. Paul explained to Timothy and Titus that an elder or pastor had to have specific qualifications to fulfill the role of being a pastor. To serve as a pastor the man (excludes women) must be blameless, the husband of one wife, believing children, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; with a number of other qualities that distinguish him as a spiritual leader including not being a novice. An evangelist is a man (excludes women) who are not required to be married or have children but must take heed to himself and to his teaching in his work of spreading the gospel. His work is preaching and teaching the word of God. The scriptures make a clear distinction between a man who is a pastor and a man who is an evangelist who is a proclaimer of good news as a preacher and minister of the gospel of Christ. The Bible never refers to an evangelist with the title of pastor or “Reverend.” Nowhere in the New Testament church did any disciple call another by the term of Reverend. The only place it is found in scripture is when the term is used of God Himself. No preacher is called Father or Clergyman.
It is startling to the religious mind to see how easy the Bible is to understand when taken for the face value of Biblical proof. If a man calls himself a pastor, where is the scripture that gives him that right? If he is serving as an elder or bishop or overseer, he can be called an elder. When a preacher calls himself a pastor or when people refer to the preacher (young or old) as a pastor they are not calling things by Bible terms. John would suggest in the final chapter of the book of the Revelation that this would be adding to the word of God. The distinctions of a pastor and an evangelist are defined by their qualities and their work. Not everyone can be a pastor as strict guidelines are given in scripture concerning their qualifications. When a man takes on the role of preaching the gospel of Christ as a proclaimer of truth, he may be called an evangelist or preacher as seen in his role. The denominational use of the pastor is not a Biblical approach to the word of God. As the saying of old reminds the Bible student, “Let the Bible speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.”