While some people consider a “Pastor” to be an office, scripture lists “Pastor” as a spiritual gift in Ephesians 4:8-11.
Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
The Greek word for Pastor is poimen and it means Shepherd.
In November 2006 at the Evangelical Theological Society meetings, Dr. Harold Hoehner presented a paper that asked the question, “Can a Woman Be a Pastor-Teacher?” Dr. Hoehner argued that Ephesians 4:11 indicates that “pastor-teacher” is a spiritual gift and not an office in the church. This position is consistent with his commentary on the book of Ephesians where he writes:
Some may question the validity of women pastors or pastor-teachers, but it must be remembered that these are gifts and not offices. Surely, women who pastor-shepherd among women should cause no problem at all (Titus 2:3–4). But in fact, Priscilla, along with Aquila, taught Apollos the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:25–26) which would indicate that a woman may not be limited to teaching only women” (Ephesians, 546).
Dr. Hoehner is one of the ESV translation review scholars and is not considered to be an egalitarian so his admission that God can gift women as Pastors for the benefit of the entire body of Christ caused quite a stir in the complementarian camp. Here is a summary of Dr. Hoehner’s position (http://assembling.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html)
1. Many misunderstandings about women in ministry are caused by a blurring of the distinctions between spiritual gifts and offices.
2. Scripture gives qualifications for offices. Qualifications are given for apostles, elder/ bishops, and deacons/deaconesses.
3. Scripture does not give qualifications for gifts. Gifts are given according to the will of God through the Holy Spirit.
4. Since there are no qualifications given for the list in Ephesians 4:11 (apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers), pastor-teachers are individuals endowed with spiritual gifts, not offices.
5. Therefore, even if women cannot hold a certain office, they can be pastor-teachers if they are so gifted.
It is to be noted that spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, through believers, for the benefit of others, therefore a Pastor is given as a spiritual gift by the working of the Holy Spirit and it is a gift for the benefit of all:
1 Cor. 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
In Gifting vs Office (http://assembling.blogspot.com/2006/11/gifting-vs-office-4.html ) Alan Knox summarizes the view this way:
If this view is correct, then we should not emphasize that a person is “exercising” a certain spiritual gift. The person does not control whether or not, or how, the Spirit decides to work through them. Instead, as Peter says, the person should speak and/or act according to the will of God, and allow the Spirit to use those words/actions as He chooses.
I do recognize that there are people within Scripture that are called “teachers,” “prophets,” “servants,” etc. However, in my view, this is the recognition of others that these are the primary ways that the Spirit works through those individuals. Thus, for one known as a “teacher,” the Spirit normally uses that person’s words to teach others; therefore, other people recognize this and refer to him/her as a “teacher.”
If we do a word search on the Greek word for Pastor, we find the term used 17 times in the NASB, with 16 of these times translated as Shepherd and once translated as Pastor.
In closing, I quote again from Alan Knox who says:
I should speak as the Spirit leads me, even if no one “learns” from my words. I am not responsible for how others receive my words or actions; however, I am responsible for obeying God in everything that I do and say.
Amen! We are responsible for obeying God in everything that we do and say and if God gifts us as a Pastor, we are responsible for using that gift for the glory of God.