Is a Pastor the Same Thing as a Preacher?

Over the past two weeks, we’ve been looking under the hood at the role of a campus pastor at a multi-site church. If you’re a campus pastor at a multi-site church and want to be interviewed, just let me know. If you’re a Network church pastor or a North Point Strategic Partner pastor and want to be interviewed, let me know.

Starting next week, we’ll look at a twist on this campus pastor concept: network or partner churches of a mother multi-site church. This may be a new concept for you.

These churches that we’ll look at are autonomous churches that have chosen to use a communicator like Andy Stanley or Craig Groeschel as their primary teacher and let the senior pastor of the church function in a role similar to a campus pastor at a multi-site church. I’m, personally, fascinated with these churches and again, I’m building up to a point.

I know my parent’s generation would say, “But that’s what we pay him for. We pay the pastor to preach. If he doesn’t preach, then what are we paying him for?” I’m seeing and advocating a switch in the way we view the senior pastor role and don’t think that the senior pastor has to be the primary communicator (I’ll write more about this in the future).

Another example of this being played out is at Mars Hill in Seattle. At Mars Hill, you’ve probably heard of Mark Driscoll, but may not realize or have put together that Mark is the teaching pastor, not the lead pastor. Jamie Munson is the Lead Pastor. That’s a healthy, working model of this concept that I feel strongly about. Jamie can be the lead or senior pastor and lead the church and someone else (Mark) can be the primary communicator (both live and via video at their multi-site campuses). See HERE for more info.

Today is the day to submit any questions, comments, feedback, thoughts you’re processing, etc. about what we’ve been dealing with the past two weeks. Have you enjoyed the interviews? Are you starting to grasp what I’m building up to – that’s there’s a difference between a preacher and a pastor and the two are not synonymous. What do you think about that statement?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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13 thoughts on “Is a Pastor the Same Thing as a Preacher?

  1. I agree. I have been in a number of churches where the senior pastor is, by default, the preaching pastor, but he has little to no communication skills. Conversely, there are many churches out there where the senior pastor can communicate with unbelievable skill, yet is quite lacking in administrative and shepherding skills. Spiritual gifts, folks!

  2. I also agree. My brother-in-law is a prof of Biblical Hebrew and a great talker. He has also been the preacher of many churches over the last 50 years. However, his wife is now and has always been the pastor (no degree, no credentials). She has been a shepherd, couselor, and prayer warrior/partner for souls looking for the answer. She stands in the background and prays He stands in the pulpit and explains the Word of God.

  3. I can't argue against it. I can't tell you how many churches I have seen where the preaching/teaching pastor was clearing functioning in his/her giftedness but when it came to other areas senior pastors are expected to excel in, bad things always happen. It really comes down to spiritual gifts and allowing people to function in them. Some pastors/elders are more suited for running the day-to-day business of a church.

    What this will require is some churches/denominations slaying their traditional understanding of ecclesiology—and that is not always easy.

  4. Please understand: I realize there are a ton of examples where the senior pastor is the primary teacher/communicator and that works fine. I'm just saying that does not always have to be the case.

  5. Greg, you have to 1st come to the table with the same definitions. Otherwise you enter into an argument based on symantics. Secondly, who is the one that God has placed to lead, be accountable for, speak into the vision and mission of that local fellowship. I am the "lead" pastor and have an "executive" pastor. We define "lead pastor" as the head pastor and lead elder among equal elders. You know where I stand on the campus pastor role. I love campus pastors…just wish they had a larger platform to preach….I know that if they are a campus pastor that God has birthed within them this passion and desire. We sponsor church plants and not regional campusses. However one day we will probably rehab churches as regionals but place a lead pastor there to preach live. My goal is to equip and meet with these pastors on a weekly basis for accountability, training, teaching and message planning. The goal is to then use the main campus as the hub of accounting, all media, overall vision casting, cg, av, etc. But then as we build out messages together, they would then expant upon the outline with their own illustrations, etc. At that point the messages would still speak to the current and pressings needs of God's people in that local setting. – kinda rambled- sorry about that-

    • As always, Clayton, thanks for sharing. Though we don't agree, I have much love and respect for you and your ministry. I simply go back to Ephesians 4:11 and see that God gifted SOME to be shepherds and SOME to be teachers. I don't think the "lead" guy has to teach as we've seen demonstrated by tons of campus pastors across the nation at multi-site churches or network churches that are seeing God move in tremendous ways, seeing lives changed, souls saved, people growing in their walk with Christ and being people on a mission. To think any differently would be to say God is not using the multi-site revolution, which I don't know about you, but I'm not prepared to say that. I've seen too many lives changed and people reached through that model.

  6. Samantics is what we are getting hung up on- that's all. I understand Ephesians, Timothy, Corinthians and Titus. I understand using people unto their gifting and calling. I understand regional campusses as I have spoken at them and also cunslulted them. I don't know that I would call this a multi-site revolution as this is simply another form of what demonations have been doing for many many decades- now we see churches in a post-denominational time period, in my humble opinion. In my interactions, and they are many, I have found regional campus pastors to battle frustration from not being utilized at their full potential. Many arguements can be made as to whether this is the faolt of the paradigm ot the person….but it is a valid point of concern. Again- I am in no way apposed to regional campusses…..I would simply go about a specific element of the campus in a diferent manner-

  7. Greg, Hey I'll do an interview! I get this question all the time. I know my gifts and i am not a great communicator. I lead worship and love to put it all together so i simply am trying to function in my areas of giftedness and passion. That is why we, The Avenue Church, partnered with as a Network church. It is a perfect fit for us. Reading above though, I think we should always have as many different ways as possible and always help each person grow in their calling and the opportunities God allows us to function in. No one size fits all!
    By the way, we Launch this Sunday Sept. 12th. If your available you should come!