Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Kind of Pastor Are You?

Prophet, priest, or king?

I've heard several guys talk about this perspective before, Mark Driscoll most often, and while I'm sure limiting pastoral personalities to three types is simplistic, I think there's a lotta truth here.

Here's how the types are characterized:

Very much into study and research. Theologically motivated. Doctrinally zealous. Writerly type. Draws hard lines. Very black and white thinker. Tends toward proclamational preaching. Very high value on preaching. Vision tends to involve philosophy, faith statements, teaching trajectory of the church. A thinker. Pulpit gospel.

Trends extroverted. Big on mercy, encouragement, helps. Compassion and service. Tends toward gray thinking (not meaning morally, necessarily). Very high value on community and collaboration. Vision tends to involve cooperation, missional thinking, outreach programs, personal counseling. Very high value on counseling, hospital visits, marriages, and funerals. A feeler. Living room gospel.

Organizationally driven. A practical thinker but highly interested in "outside the box" thinking, visionary thinking. Likes data, research, numbers, troubleshooting "church systems." Thinks nuts and bolts. Problem solver. Big on leadership, motivating, coaching. Very high value on impact, quality, influence. Big on building and innovating. A doer. Strategic gospel.

I think most pastors/leaders are probably a blend of these three types, but still probably trend most toward one.
As I think about my own ministerial makeup, I think -- no, I know -- I trend most toward Prophet. I think if I had to guess at the blend of my type, I'd be 60% Prophet, 25% Priest, and 15% King.

How about you? What kind of pastor/leader are you?


Bill Kinnon said...

OK. Unpack this for me in light of Jesus comments about leadership in Mark 10 / Matthew 20. And the "King" line in light of 1 Samuel 8. I'm just asking.

Jared said...

Bill, I'm not sure what you're asking. Can you be more specific?

I know the type labels derive from the Scriptural vocations of Christ, but here they're mainly just used as personality/type descriptors, not theological derivations.

I/we could change the labels to Thinker/Feeler/Doer or Preacher/Comforter/Leader. Would that help?

Jared said...

Wait. Are you asking for a biblical justification for the modern position itself of pastor?


Jimmy D. said...

Jared: Dan Allender has an excellent article on this topic at

Anonymous said...

I have also heard Driscoll talk about this. I find myself as 80% Prophet; 15% King; and 5% Priest.

I'm not sure that is good thing or not being a pastor of a small rural church, but I am finding that my hardest task is that of pastoral-care and encouragement. My church is used to their pastor being 95% Priest and 5% Prophet. But I find myself identifying with the Prophet personality and this has been a bit difficult for my congregation, but I pray that they will see that I love and care for them so much, because I put so much time in study and preparation, so that I can pastor them from the pulpit more so than I do from the Living Room.

Any advice?

Jared said...

Scott, I don't know how much my advice is worth but I'd say this firstly: There's no shame in pastoring from the pulpit. Study hard, preach hard. It's how God wired you, and proclamational teaching is a constant ministry throughout Scripture.

Secondly, though, I would work at developing your "priestliness." A shepherd shepherds, and while we would all hope churches would be patient and gracious with the weaknesses of their pastors, I think church members are right to expect a pastor to walk along side them, to help them celebrate and grieve and die.

It will mean getting out of your comfort zone for sure. Maybe find some pastors close who are good at that and get some mentoring. Maybe find someone on your team or within your church who can work around your weakness in this area in the interim.
I'm very deficient in the organizational/financial/strategic side of ministry, but I am learning and stretching, and I am very thankful that I have more than one on my team that manage around my weakness.

Bottom line: Keep preaching. But start getting into the living rooms in some way.

Rob Harrison said...

On this model, I definitely skew strongly toward the prophetic pole as well; I'm no extrovert, not by a long shot, but I do value the priestly aspect as well, and I think I do a decent job at it despite the fact that my temperament isn't the best for it. For the other, vision I can do, but I need others for the practical/organizational/nuts-and-bolts kind of thinking and working; that's definitely my weakest area. (Percentages? I'm not enough of a "king" type to be able to quantify like that. :) )

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice. I am learning more and more as I go, and I continue to try to get more involved in their lives. First, it is already difficult to do the priestly duties, due to my strengths and weakness, but I am willing to learn and have been seeking guidance from others. Second, it is difficult to do a better job at the priestly duties, due to the fact that I am Bivocational. I would love to be full-time, but the church has always had a bi-vo pastor, and they see no need in a full-time.

All this does not leave any room for excuse, but there are difficulties. Because my congregation tends to expect from me, what a congregation would expect from a full-timer, and doesn't understand due to the circumstances, that there isn't enough time in the day to meet the demands of 70-100 people at church and the demands of my job and family.

I am just praying for strength and guidance from the Lord, and continue to learn more about the pastoral care part of the ministry. I am just thankful that a couple of my deacons do understand, and they tend to help in this area.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Jared said...

Scott, I feel for ya, man. And I understand. I am unpaid, and as my primary responsibility is stay-at-home dad to my two girls, and as I try to earn some dough writing and such, I find quality time to do the adequate work of a pastor very hard to come by.

Let's pray for each other.

Bill Kinnon said...

Sorry Jared. I've been in transit to Colorado.

I think my reaction is based on the kind of crap I've experienced from Pastor's who operate like Kings - and will offtimes be heard reminding us to "not touch the Lord's anointed." So when I hear this kind of term used as a descriptor...

And no, I'm not agin pastors. No Viola flies on me. :-)

Jared said...

Ah. That makes sense. Thanks for explaining.

I have served under abusive pastors before.

I think in the current evangelical landscape, the king types are ruling the church roosts, which is partially why the mega/business/pragmatic mentality holds such sway.

I also think the "touch not" despotism can occur in any type of ministerial type. I've known plenty of the prophet types who act like jerks and minister like empire-builders.

Anonymous said...

Well, as our Prophet, Priest and King it shouldn't surprise us that Jesus equips his leaders with differing gifting to match their call. These would roughly correspond to the purity, peace and prospherity of the church. Ideally, the church leadership would be balanced so they are not out of sorts. But this is tough in a small church.
Yes, my dominant gifting is prophetic.
If this interests you, David Fairchild and Drew Goodmanson did some lectures on P,P & K in leadership for Vintage 21. There are links on Drew's blog:

Mark said...

I will respectfully submit my thoughts on this issue, for whatever its worth. Scripture mentions the gift of pastor/teacher along with the other gifts given, i.e. apostle, prophet and evangelist. Unfortunately in the modern church all the emphasis is put on the role of the pastor, and many with a pure heart to serve God and His people may only see the role of pastor, as we now see it, and so they pursue that option. Unfortunately, there is no precedence in scripture for a single pastorate system, or for the dominance of that gift over the others. Paul spoke of "elders" plural, as the leaders of the church, and it wasn't, in my opinion, an office or a position to be filled, but a function to be performed by those that were called. Among the elders I would imagine there would be those gifted as apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors/teachers, but the emphasis with Paul is always on the body ministering to ONE ANOTHER, not being lead by one man. Thus, in my humble opinion, those who find their personalities more suited to the "prophet" description may be trying to force a square peg into a round whole, thus resulting in frustration all the way around.

Ioannis Pantelidis said...

This model is very useful even in understanding the scripture and the characters. In understanding the church members, finding even partners in groups, even probably a wife.
For example it is not a coincidence we have 3 synoptic gospels. Luke the thinker, Marc the feeler, Matthew the doer. Even we see that John the Baptist according to Luke can not understand how to untie the rope of the shoes of Christ, in Mark John the Baptist is not worthy in bowing before Christ and in Matthew John the Baptist does not have the strength to hold Jesus shoes.
Other parallel scripture but with the same character saying something different is the centurion that crucified Christ. Also we see the church in Corinth spitted in 3 groups. Apollo (the thinker), Peter (feeler), Paul (doer). Even thought that Paul, Peter and Paul respected one another and they never preached that they are better than one another and they preached they are complementary...
We need all types to go further as God choose to be a trinitarian God.