The most important task of any pastor is to clearly and carefully communicate the Word of God with his people on a regular basis. So important is the task of teaching and preaching that it occupies the vast majority of our ministerial training. In my own personal library, my collection of books on preaching takes up about 2 ½ feet of shelf space. Preaching is hard, time-consuming work. Professors urged me to spend 20-25 hours per week in sermon prep and I recently heard John MacArthur say that he reads about fifteen commentaries for every sermon he prepares.
In addition to preaching, pastors are to pray and visit and counsel. Pastors tend to enjoy the “ministerial” aspects of pastoral ministry. We are drawn to our study and our books. We can be found spending inordinate amounts of time in pastoral care. For this reason we are called pastors—shepherds, those who are carefully guiding and directing God’s people through God’s Word. We bind up the broken and work to not snuff out smoldering wicks.
But in addition to preaching, teaching, and providing pastoral care, elders or pastors are also called to be overseers. Overseer is an ESV translation for the Greek word, episkopos. The KJV most often translates it bishop, but regardless of the translation, the Bible uses the term to describe a man who is charged with the duty to see that things get done or get done right. An overseer is a leader or a manager, and pastor, you have been charged to be that kind of person.
In his instructions to Titus, Paul is clear that his young protégé is to appoint elders in every town who have the responsibility to put things into order. Paul calls these elders “overseers.” The men Titus would appoint were going to have the responsibility to bring order into the chaos of the young Cretan church.
Without a doubt the pastors appointed by Titus would proclaim the Word of God, they would provide pastoral care and pray for and over the people, but they were also to be overseers. These men were to be the managers of the young church. Under the direction of God’s Spirit, these men were to guide the church into green pastures, lead them beside still waters, and silence the false teachers. These ancient divines were also called to organize the men’s ministry, the women’s ministry, the youth ministry, and the ministry to bondservants and slaves (2:1-10).
Pastors, whether we like it or not, we (like Titus’s pupils) have been charged to be more than the preacher, more than the lead counselor, and more than the door opener. We are the overseers of the churches to which we have been called. We have a responsibility to lead well within the church. If you are the lead/senior pastor, all things in the church ultimately fall under your responsibility. You may not (and should not) lead every ministry, but you have a responsibility to provide leadership and vision for every ministry.
For many pastors, the leadership aspect of ministry does not come naturally; but, just because it does not come naturally does not mean that any of us as pastors are exempt from the responsibility. Oversight is a biblical responsibility. As such, pastors have been called to oversee and to do whatever is necessary to become equipped to lead and manage within their local church.
The pastor is never to be a dictator, nor should he be an overworked martyr, but the pastor is the overseer. You, pastor, are the overseer. Recognize and accept the responsibility, then see to it that things get done.