AskDefine | Define pastors

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of pastor

Extensive Definition

For the bird genus, see Rosy Starling.
portal Christianity A pastor is an official person within a Protestant group of people, and related to the positions of priest or bishop within the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The word itself is derived from the Latin word which means shepherd. The term pastor is also related to the role of elder within the New Testament, but is not synonymous with the biblical understanding of minister.
The usage of pastor comes from its use in the Bible. In the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament), the Hebrew word is used. The word is used 173 times and can describe the feeding of sheep as in Genesis 29:7 or the spiritual feeding of human beings as in Jeremiah 3:15, "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding" (KJV).
In the New Testament, the Greek word (poimēn) is used and is normally translated pastor or shepherd. The word is used 18 times in the New Testament. For example, Ephesians 4:11, "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastor(s) and teachers" (KJV). Jesus also called himself the "Good Shepherd" in John 10:11.
Sometimes "pastor" was used in the New Testament as a reference to presbyters, but it was used mostly as a title for Bishops (episkopos). For example, in Acts 20:17, the Apostle Paul summons the elders of the church in Ephesus to give a last discourse to them; in the process, in Acts 20:28, he tells them that the Holy Spirit has made them bishops, and that their job is to shepherd their church. Peter uses much the same language in 1 Peter 5:1-2, telling the elders among his readers that they are to shepherd not "lord over" the flock in their charge, acting as bishops willingly.
Paul also gives a list of characteristics that men serving in this capacity ought to possess. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul gives a list for those serving as shepherds. In Titus 1:5-9, a remarkably similar list is given, this time directed to elders which may lead some to believe them to be the same.
Arguably from the earliest centuries of Christian history, the Church had three orders which were considered divinely ordained: Bishops, Priests (or Presbyters) and deacons. Each was only considered authoritative and able to administer the Sacraments if one had valid apostolic succession (i.e., traceable lineage of ordinations back to the original bishops, the Apostles themselves). However, Protestant communities since the reformation generally disregard this practice, or deny the existence of apostolic succession.

Historical usage

Around 400 AD, Saint Augustine, a famous North African bishop, described a pastor's job: Disturbers are to be rebuked, the low-spirited to be encouraged, the infirm to be supported, objectors confuted, the treacherous guarded against, the unskilled taught, the lazy aroused, the contentious restrained, the haughty repressed, litigants pacified, the poor relieved, the oppressed liberated, the good approved, the evil borne with, and all are to be loved.

Current usage

In Protestantism

Many Protestants use the term pastor as a title (e.g., Pastor Smith) or as a job title (like Senior Pastor or Worship Pastor). Some Protestants contend that utilizing the appellation of pastor to refer to an ordained minister contradicts the Protestant doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, and, therefore, reject the use of the term pastor for their leaders. These include some parts of the Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, American Churches of Christ, the Assemblies of God, and Baptist traditions.
The use of the term pastor to refer to the common Protestant title of modern times dates to the days of John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli. Both men, and other Reformers seem to have revived the term to replace the Catholic priest in the minds of their followers, although the Pastor was still considered separate from the board of presbyters. Few Protestant groups today still view the pastor, bishop, and elder as synonymous terms or offices; many who do are descended from the Restoration Movement in America during the 1800s, such as the Disciples of Christ and the Churches of Christ.
The term pastor is sometimes used for missionaries in developed countries to avoid offending some people from the industrialized countries who may think that missionaries go only to less developed countries.

Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican

Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican/Episcopalian churches typically refer to their local church leaders as parish priests (although the term pastor may also be used, particularly in North America). However, Anglican/Episcopalian Churches rarely use the term "pastor", preferring the words rector and priest.
Every Catholic parish is entrusted to the care of a single pastor, who must be a priest according to the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The associate pastor is called a parochial vicar and also must be a priest. In U.S. Catholic parishes, a lay ecclesial minister who fulfills many of the non-sacramental functions of an associate pastor is often called a pastoral associate, parish minister, or pastoral assistant.



External links

  • New Advent. The Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on the term pastor.
  • Gumpoint. A Pentecostal view on the term pastor.
  • Personal Life of a Pastor. The personal life of pastors is often overlooked by their church. This link directs you to a collection of resources about keeping a pastor's personal life vibrant.
  • Pastor's Role. A collection of articles about the role of a pastor in a church.
  • Pastoral Administration. Articles about a pastor's role as administrator of a church.
pastors in Bulgarian: Пастор
pastors in Czech: Pastor
pastors in German: Pastor
pastors in Modern Greek (1453-): Ποιμένας
pastors in Estonian: Pastor
pastors in Esperanto: Pastoro
pastors in French: Pasteur protestant
pastors in Korean: 목사
pastors in Croatian: Pastor
pastors in Indonesian: Pastor
pastors in Italian: Pastore (religione)
pastors in Lithuanian: Pastorius
pastors in Hungarian: Lelkipásztor
pastors in Dutch: Pastor
pastors in Japanese: 牧師
pastors in Norwegian: Pastor
pastors in Polish: Pastor
pastors in Portuguese: Pastor
pastors in Russian: Пастор
pastors in Simple English: Pastor
pastors in Finnish: Pastori
pastors in Swedish: Pastor
pastors in Ukrainian: Пастор
pastors in Yiddish: גלח
pastors in Contenese: 牧師
pastors in Chinese: 牧师
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1