As we look to affirm a particular man in our church to become one of the pastors, this is a most helpful question to be asked and consider. Not just for us, but for all those who claim to be a pastor. With all the demands and expectations upon a pastor’s life and ministry, it becomes a temptation for a pastor to lose his identity in the midst of them. Are we simply to visit them, make small talk, spend time with them, and move on with our day? What makes a pastor different from others that may spend time with the people of the church and invest in them?
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones draws clear distinctions with these words:
A pastor is a man who is given charge of souls. He is not merely a nice, pleasant man who visits people and has an afternoon cup of tea with them, or passes the time of day with them. He is the guardian, the custodian, the protector, the organizer, the director, the ruler of the flock.