We deviate from Scriptural precept and historical example, however, when a pastor’s role as “leader” displaces his primary role as a teacher—a shepherd who feeds God’s people with the truth of his Word. The relentless call to pastors in the New Testament is to the ministry of the Word, from the apostles’ retirement from mercy ministry (Acts 6:1–4) to Paul’s dying words to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:2).
I doubt anyone reading this would reject the content of the previous paragraph. My concern is rather with a false dichotomy that I fear is all too common: a dichotomy in the pastor’s mind between “teaching” and “leadership.” In the pulpit or behind the podium, we’re “teaching;” anywhere else, we’re “leading.” My modest goal in this post is to destroy this dichotomy. There is no more powerful or fundamental expression of a pastor’s leadership than the preaching of the Word. At its core, that’s what biblical leadership is: setting forth for our people a biblical vision of God and his purposes, and then calling them to give their lives to it and live in light of it (and outside the pulpit, modeling for them what it looks like). Every time we preach, we’re making room for God to lead his people, allowing his Word to set direction, to impart encouragement, to provide comfort, and to instill faith. Much more is happening on a Sunday morning than the mere transfer of information. This is our key leadership moment.
Pastor: Preacher or Leader?
Here is a great quote from a recent post from Jeff Purswell of Sovereign Grace Ministries that answers this question very well: