The Senior Pastor As Communicator


The senior pastor of a local church wears many hats, but one of the biggest is that of teacher, preacher, or chief communicator. Greek philosopher Aristotle said every act of communication involves three things: logos, ethos, and pathos. 

Those have stood the test of time and are still extremely helpful in evaluating our communication as pastors!

Let’s look at each briefly.

Logos - This has to do with content, logic, and consistency. As a senior pastor getting up to speak to a church, ask yourself, "Have I done my homework?  As a senior pastor, I averaged about 30 hours of work on a message weekly.  Have you done the proper interpretation work on a biblical text and communicate it clearly? Albert Einstein said, “You don’t really understand something unless you can communicate it in a simple way.”

A senior pastor has to work on both interpretation and implication. It is not enough to be biblical but not relevant. Likewise, you cannot be relevant but not biblical! In your homework, study what others have preached or written about your text. Spurgeon said, “All originality makes a dull sermon.”

Ethos - This is who the senior pastor is as a person, the credibility, and trust factor a senior pastor has with the people in their audience. Obviously, no pastor can perfectly live out the truths that we preach (except Jesus!), but we should long for it! As a senior pastor, I often told the church, “When I preach, the person I am most preaching to is myself!” People don’t expect the pastor to be perfect, but they do want someone who has integrity of life and strives to live what he preaches.

Pathos - This is passion, the emotional side of communication. David Hume, the famous British philosopher and skeptic, was once seen going to hear George Whitefield preach. Someone challenged him, “I thought you do not believe in the gospel?” Hume replied, “I don’t, but he does!” As a pastor, does the message burn deeply within your heart and soul? If so, your audience will be impacted greatly.

Three keys: logos (your content), ethos (your life), and pathos (your passion). Combine those three and your pastoral communication will reap an eternal harvest.