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Why Apostle Paul Never Became Pastor of a Church

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Paul is among the well-known people of the Bible. After all, he wrote most of the New Testament. Most people know some verses from his 13 books. Pastors preach from those books all the time even though Paul himself was not a pastor.

Paul said in Romans 15:20, "It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation." Therefore, Paul was an itinerant preacher, but he was never a pastor. That way he could go from groups of people who were unchurched to preach the gospel of the saving power of Jesus Christ without staying in the same church as most pastors do today.

Paul: Teacher and Preacher

Paul is known by many titles in the Bible, but the word "pastor" is not among them. In the very first verse of most of his books, Paul identifies himself as an apostle, preacher, missionary, tent maker, servant, slave of Jesus, prisoner of Christ Jesus but not a pastor.

If Paul had become a pastor, he would have had lots of materials for sermons to deliver every Sunday based on his own books in the New Testament. However, that was not what God called Paul to do.

Paul was a great teacher, preacher, and missionary. It is interesting that Paul mentored young Timothy and Titus and instructed them to become effective pastors, but Paul was never a pastor himself. Paul preferred being an itinerant preacher.


Paul: An Itinerant Preacher

An itinerant preacher is a person who travels from place to place only to preach the redemptive message of the saving power of Jesus Christ. An itinerant preacher never becomes a pastor of any particular church. That's because he has a different "itinerary" than pastors who stay at the same church year after year preaching to the same congregation within a building.

Paul was under the Holy Spirit to travel and preach to people who had never heard about Jesus Christ. Paul was called to preach the pure gospel that was not mixed with other things such as the color of the carpet or the budget for choir robes.

He endeavored to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified 1 Corinthians 2:2. Paul said he did not have a desire to go into another man's pulpit and preach behind something he had said. Instead, he wanted to go where Christ had not been known and teach people from the very beginning. He sought to go to those places where he could lay the foundation himself.


Paul chose not to pastor a church that had already been established. He preferred not being a pastor after another pastor had laid the foundation. He did not want to take credit for what a pastor had done, such as starting a bus ministry or organizing a men's or women's ministry. He did want to take another man's crown for the labor he had done for the church. He did not want to become part of the church's history that is read once a year during the church's anniversary celebration. Paul wanted to preach and teach only what God told him to do instead of having a Sunday evening service for the sole purpose of raising money for the building fund.

Paul was not interested in being part of Women in Hats celebrations, fashion shows, or other things that go on in churches today to raise money. Paul's main mission was to preach Jesus Christ. He could do that more freely and effectively if he was not obligated to stay in one place.

Paul: Planter of Churches

Paul planted churches. He did not pastor them. He planted churches that he might be the first to lay the foundation by preaching Christ instead of preaching behind someone else.

After Paul planted churches, he would then turn them over to men who were capable of preaching Jesus Christ. He would always keep in touch with the people of the churches he planted. He advised them through letters. He even rebuked them when he heard they were teaching false doctrines or doing something else that was wrong.

That's why there are letters to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. He wrote two letters to the Corinthians and the Thessalonians. That's because he had to address more issues or further explain previous ones.

Paul: A Missionary

Paul went on three missionary journeys that are fully explained in the book of Acts. Paul was guided by the Holy Spirit to visit places and preach the gospel to people who didn't know about Jesus Christ.

He didn't have to come up with a new sermon every time because he always had one in his heart and on his mind. It was all about Jesus Christ as far as Paul was concerned. Christ was the focus, theme, and main part of every sermon. Unfortunately, we can't say that about sermons today.

Bishop TD Jakes, pastor of The Potter's House, Dallas, Texas

Bishop TD Jakes, pastor of The Potter's House, Dallas, Texas

Pastors Today

Not all preachers are like Paul who preferred preaching only the gospel. Paul was provoked to preach Jesus Christ no matter where he was.

Modern-day pastors preach the gospel, but it is often mixed with many other things. Bishop T.D. Jakes, the pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas with a membership of about 30,000, said too many things are going on in churches today that are a waste of time. He made that comment in his keynote address at the 2014 International Pastors & Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida.

According to All Christian News, Bishop Jakes said, "The church has become masterful at doing things that don't matter." He added that the church is so caught up in tradition inside the church that it is not reaching the world outside the church as its mission should be.

Paul was not caught up in the tradition of any church. The world was his church. All his sermons were about the saving power of Jesus Christ.

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