Apostolic Preaching vs. Pastoral Preaching


Joseph Mattera shares how understanding these two viewpoints can help in knowing what a church or organization may need at the present time.

The word of God teaches us that those set in to minister to the body of Christ have a function based on their supernatural and motivational giftings. How someone is “wired” will determine how they view life, the church, the priorities of Christianity, and ministry.

I have noticed through the years a difference between those who emphasize ministerial responsibilities and tasks (human doing) from those who emphasize emotional health and internal piety (human “being”) as priorities in the Christian walk; both are needed. This emphasis will be based on whether the person doing the teaching has more of an apostolic perspective (based on the old Roman usage of the term, which has to do with Rome sending a military leader called an apostle to another nation to form a beachhead for the purpose of conquering it for Rome) or a pastoral perspective (a person whose primary concern is nurture and personal well-being). Understanding these two viewpoints will greatly aid us in critiquing books and teachings and also help us to know what our church or organization may need at the present time.

Sometimes we need to be nurtured and cared for before we go out to minister; sometimes we need to be in the battle advancing the cause of Christ. We want to avoid falling into one extreme or the other by reading books from both these camps and allowing both types to speak into our lives.

The following are general principles (some are overstatements) regarding the two perspectives.

•    Pastoral preaching is therapeutic; Apostolic preaching emphasizes personal commitment in spite of how we feel.

•    Pastoral preaching emphasizes inward health; Apostolic preaching emphasizes external tasks.

•    Pastoral preaching emphasizes our call to understand our true self by contemplation; Apostolic preaching emphasizes our commission to make God known by cultural penetration.

•    Pastoral preaching is essential for a healthy church; Apostolic preaching is necessary for a Christ-centered city.

•    Pastoral preaching aids us in self discovery and recovery; Apostolic preaching promotes societal transformation that can lead to the restoration of God’s kingdom principles on earth as in heaven.

•    Pastoral preaching emphasizes relational stability for the communion of the saints; Apostolic preaching assembles the saints in purposeful unity to fulfill the Great Commission.

•    Pastoral preaching emphasizes self-renewal; Apostolic preaching emphasizes personal responsibility.

•    Pastoral preaching is inward-focused and promotes counseling strategies for the sheep; Apostolic preaching is outward-focused and promotes evangelism and making disciples of the heathen.

In conclusion:

•    The pastor is sent out to counsel; The apostolic leader to conquer.

•    Every person needs a pastor; All people groups need an apostle.

•    Every pastor needs an apostolic leader; Every apostolic leader needs another one to pastor him or her.

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