How Does a Preacher Love the People?

5 Dec

Once, when a new pastor came to a church where I was a member, I overheard another member say, “I finally feel like I have a pastor. _____________ (the last pastor’s name) was a preacher but he was not a pastor.” I have often thought about that distinction made between pastor and preacher. The stereotype is that pastors are caring and loving but not very good preachers while preachers are good communicators but not so good outside the pulpit, maybe even a little cold and withdrawn.

If I had to guess, I’d say most people would prefer to have a pastor rather than a preacher. I think, quite frankly, that part of that preference is because we would rather have someone make much of us than lead us to make much of God. Certainly a pastor who cares deeply about the ministry of the pulpit should also care deeply for the people. I am not arguing for the elimination of personal pastoral ministry. It is vital. I am saying that pulpit pastoral ministry is even more vital to the spiritual life of a congregation.

Bill Mounce wrote an excellent blog post about this topic which I commend to you. If we are to be a God-centered people, the proclamation of His excellencies from the pulpit is critical to the cultivation of this God-centeredness. I may hold your hand in the hospital, but if I don’t point you to God on Sunday morning from the pulpit, I have failed you.

Here is the post from Mounce:

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