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I find it helpful to regularly read books that prepare, develop, and sharpen the pastor. As a pastor, as in any profession (and I use the word profession with some looseness), pastoral ministry is one that requires constant maintenance. The mistake is made in other professions who refuse to keep learning and more importantly growing—not into something new, but into what Christ has called on him to be.

Recently, I read from a book by Albert Martin a section on the pastor’s scripturally defined identity. Now, if one is not a pastor, it is just as important to know. I share these things for my own soul, but also for the congregation which is benefited to know what a pastor is. So, what is our scripturally defined identity?

Martin says that the first biblical description is that of a herald. The word for this is found translated in 2 Tim 1:11 as “a preacher.” It describes one who enters a town and declares a message which his king sent him to proclaim.

The second description is that of ambassador. This word shows up in 2 Cor 5:20. And ambassador is sent to make peace as legal representatives (cf. Luke 14:32; 19:14). The ambassador is essentially a representative.

The third description is a steward. This word shows up in 1 Cor 4:1. Stewards are expected to be faithful (1 Cor 4:2). The one who judges this stewardship is the Lord himself (1 Cor 4:3–4). In light of the judgment of men, the judgment of God is a great thing. The judgment of men is small in comparison to the judgment of God. This ultimate accountability is sobering.

The fourth description is leader or ruler. This is stated in Hebrews 13:7. Martin states: “Leaders exercise spiritual authority and rule by speaking the Word of God to the church. We rule and lead by declaring and explaining the Word of God.”

All of these descriptions are tethered to the Word of God. “Our ministry as preachers is defined in terms of our relationship to that truth, knowing that “the truth is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21).”

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