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Difference Between Apostle and Pastor (2024) 🌿

Difference Between Apostle and Pastor

Difference Between Apostle and Pastor – In the Bible, an Apostle and a Pastor serve different roles within the early Christian community. An Apostle is someone who is sent forth by Jesus to spread the Gospel and establish the early Christian Church. The term “Apostle” primarily refers to the twelve followers personally chosen by Jesus, such as Peter and John, to spread his teachings. They are given the authority to perform miracles, cast out evil spirits, heal, and baptize in the name of Jesus.

On the other hand, a Pastor, also known as a shepherd or elder , is someone who is called to serve and guide a local congregation or church community, focusing on nurturing and caring for the spiritual needs of the congregation. Pastors are involved in preaching , teaching, counseling, and overseeing the spiritual well-being of their flock. While Apostles are foundational figures with a broad, often itinerant ministry, pastors have a more localized and nurturing role, dedicated to the spiritual health and growth of their congregations. Both roles, however, are crucial in the Christian faith, as they help in spreading and maintaining the teachings of Christ.🌟

Difference Between Apostle and Pastor 🌿

Below is a table highlighting the biblical differences between an Apostle and a Pastor:

Biblical BasisEphesians 4:11, Acts 1:21-26, Matthew 10:1-4Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 5:2-3, Acts 20:28
Role– Sent forth by Jesus to spread the Gospel. – Establish the Christian Church.– Serve and guide a local congregation. – Nurture and care for the spiritual needs of the congregation.
Responsibility– Proclaiming the Gospel. – Performing miracles. – Establishing churches.– Preaching and teaching. – Counseling. – Overseeing the spiritual well-being of the congregation.
Authority– Given authority by Jesus to perform miracles and cast out evil spirits.– Given authority by the local church to lead and guide the congregation.
Scope of Ministry– Broad, often itinerant ministry, foundational to the Christian faith.– Localized and nurturing role focused on the spiritual health and growth of a specific congregation.
Duration of Role– Generally considered to be limited to the early foundation of the Church.– Continues as an ongoing role within the Church throughout its history.

This table summarizes the foundational differences between Apostles and Pastors as outlined in the New Testament, delineating their distinct roles, responsibilities, scope, and authority within the early Church and subsequent Christian communities.

All Scripture is God Breathed
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” 📜✨🙏📘👼💡📖👍🏽💭🛐🚫👨‍⚖️✅👨‍🏫🛠🎯

Understanding the Distinction 🌟

The difference between apostle and pastor lies in their roles, responsibilities, and their approach to spreading faith and maintaining the spiritual health of the congregation. Apostles are typically seen as the pioneers of faith, spreading the word of God and establishing churches, while pastors are the shepherds, guiding and nurturing their congregations.

Here are ten relevant differences between an apostle and a pastor:

  • Role and Authority:
  • Apostles are considered to have a foundational role in establishing and governing the church, often seen as having broader authority.
  • Pastors typically have a shepherding role within a specific congregation or community, focusing on pastoral care, teaching, and leadership within that local context.
  • Historical Context:
  • Apostles were figures who directly witnessed the teachings and resurrection of Jesus Christ in early Christianity and were chosen by Him for specific missions.
  • Pastors emerged as a role within the church later in history to provide leadership and guidance to local congregations.
  • Function:
  • Apostles are often seen as pioneering figures, responsible for spreading the Gospel, establishing churches, and overseeing their development.
  • Pastors primarily focus on the spiritual care, guidance, and teaching of a specific congregation or community.
  • Scope of Work:
  • Apostles may have a broader geographical and organizational scope, overseeing multiple churches or regions.
  • Pastors typically have a narrower focus, serving within the confines of a single congregation or community.
  • Appointment and Authority:
  • Apostles are believed to be appointed directly by God or Jesus Christ and are often recognized by specific signs or qualifications.
  • Pastors are usually appointed by a local congregation or a higher governing body within their religious denomination.
  • Gifts and Talents:
  • Apostles are often associated with miraculous gifts, such as healing, speaking in tongues, or prophecy, as described in the New Testament.
  • Pastors may possess various spiritual gifts, but their primary emphasis is on pastoral care, teaching, and leadership within the church community.
  • Biblical Basis:
  • The term “apostle” is primarily used in the New Testament to refer to the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus and to Paul, who had a unique role in spreading Christianity.
  • The term “pastor” is derived from the Latin word for shepherd and is used in the New Testament to describe those who care for and lead the flock of believers.
  • Mission and Calling:
  • Apostles are often seen as having a specific calling to establish new churches, disciple believers, and advance the Gospel in different cultural contexts.
  • Pastors are called to shepherd and nurture the spiritual growth of a specific congregation, providing guidance, teaching, and support.
  • Hierarchy and Governance:
  • In some Christian traditions, apostles may hold a position of authority within a hierarchical structure, overseeing the work of pastors and other church leaders.
  • Pastors typically operate within a local church structure, under the oversight of higher denominational authorities or governing bodies.
  • Continuation:
    • Some Christian denominations believe in the ongoing appointment of apostles, while others see the apostolic role as unique to the early church.
    • The role of pastor continues to be relevant in most Christian denominations, with pastors serving as spiritual leaders and caregivers within local congregations.

Definition of Apostle 📖

An apostle is a person who is sent forth by God with a special mission to propagate the faith and establish churches. Apostles are often regarded as pioneers, initiating new territories for the faith and laying the foundations for the growth of the church. In the early church, the apostles played a crucial role in spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ and establishing the Christian community.

apostle vs pastor

Definition of a Pastor 🌱

A pastor, on the other hand, is a shepherd of a congregation, guiding and nurturing the spiritual wellbeing of the flock. Pastors are responsible for providing spiritual leadership, offering pastoral care, and helping members of the congregation in their spiritual growth. They tend to the needs of their congregation through preaching, teaching, counseling, and fostering a sense of community.

What Did an Apostle Do 🚀

Apostles were responsible for spreading the word of God, establishing churches, and laying down the doctrines of the faith. They were the messengers of Christ, endowed with authority and power to lay the foundations of the Christian faith in new territories. They played an instrumental role in the early growth and establishment of Christianity across different regions.

Who Accepts Apostles 🤲

Acceptance of apostles is widespread within Christianity, but different denominations may have varying interpretations and acknowledgments of apostolic roles. Many believe in the spiritual authority and the foundational role of the apostles in establishing the church, while others focus more on the pastoral and teaching roles within their congregations.

Difference Between Apostle and Pastor 
apostle vs pastor

What Makes Someone an Apostle 🌐

To be considered an apostle, a person is usually sent forth with a divine mission to propagate the faith, lay the foundations of the church, and establish doctrines. Apostles are pioneers, empowered with authority to spread the Christian faith and establish it in new territories and among different people.

Can Everyone be an Apostle 🤔

Not everyone is called to be an apostle, as it is considered a specific calling with distinctive responsibilities and duties. However, every believer is encouraged to spread the teachings of Christ in their own capacity, contributing to the propagation of the faith and the growth of the Christian community.

Difference between an Apostle and Evangelist 🕊

An apostle is a messenger and a founder of churches, whereas an evangelist is primarily focused on preaching the gospel to non-believers. While apostles lay the foundations and establish doctrines, evangelists work to bring people to the faith and expand the reach of the gospel.

Below is a table depicting the differences between an Apostle and an Evangelist according to the Bible:

Biblical BasisEphesians 4:11, Acts 1:21-26, Matthew 10:1-4Ephesians 4:11, Acts 21:8, 2 Timothy 4:5
Role– Sent forth by Jesus to spread the Gospel. – Establish the Christian Church.– Proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to non-believers. – Encourage conversions and baptisms.
Responsibility– Proclaiming the Gospel to different regions and people. – Performing miracles. – Establishing and overseeing churches.– Preaching and teaching the Gospel to those unfamiliar with it. – Involved in missionary work.
Authority– Given special authority by Jesus to lay the foundation of the Church.– Empowered to spread the Gospel, but does not have the foundational role of an Apostle.
Scope of Ministry– Broad, often itinerant, reaching various regions and peoples. – Foundational and authoritative in the early church.– Focuses on reaching new territories and people who have not heard the Gospel. – More outreach-focused.
Duration of Role– Generally considered foundational to the early Christian Church.– Continues as an ongoing role in Christian ministry for spreading the Gospel.

This table concisely contrasts Apostles and Evangelists, highlighting their distinctive roles, responsibilities, authority, and scope in spreading the Christian faith, as detailed in the New Testament.

Difference between an Apostle and a Disciple 🌺

A disciple is a follower of Jesus who learns and adheres to His teachings. Apostles, however, are not just followers but are sent forth with a divine mission to establish churches and spread the Christian faith. Essentially, while all apostles are disciples, not all disciples are apostles.

Below is a detailed table illustrating the differences between an Apostle and a Disciple, along with a timeline function:

Biblical BasisEphesians 4:11, Acts 1:21-26, Matthew 10:1-4Matthew 28:19, Luke 14:27, John 8:31New Testament Era
Role– Sent by Jesus to spread the Gospel. – Establish the Christian Church.– Follower and learner of Jesus’s teachings. – Any believer in Jesus Christ.Jesus’s Ministry and Ongoing
Responsibility– Proclaiming the Gospel. – Establishing churches. – Overseeing the spiritual development of churches.– Learning and adhering to Jesus’s teachings. – Spreading the teachings of Jesus.Jesus’s Ministry and Ongoing
Number– Originally 12, selected by Jesus. – Paul and Matthias were later added.– Not limited; refers to all followers of Jesus. – The 12 Apostles were also disciples.Jesus’s Ministry and Ongoing
Authority– Given authority by Jesus to perform miracles, heal, and cast out demons.– Encouraged to spread Jesus’s teachings but not given the same level of authority as the Apostles.Jesus’s Ministry and Ongoing
Scope of Ministry– Broad and foundational, often itinerant, reaching different regions and people.– Can be broad or localized, depending on the individual’s calling and ministry.Jesus’s Ministry and Ongoing
Selection– Specifically chosen by Jesus.– Any person who chooses to follow and believe in Jesus.Jesus’s Ministry and Ongoing


  • During Jesus’s Ministry: Disciples were being called, and the original 12 Apostles were chosen. Both groups were learning directly from Jesus and witnessing His miracles.
  • After Crucifixion and Resurrection: Apostles played a foundational role in establishing the early Christian Church. Disciples, including the broader base of believers, continued to spread Jesus’s teachings.
  • Ongoing: The term “disciple” continues to be used for anyone who follows Christ, while the role of the Apostle is generally considered to be specific to the early foundation of the Church.

This table, along with the timeline, provides a comprehensive view of the differences between Apostles and Disciples, according to the New Testament, emphasizing their distinct roles, responsibilities, and scope during and after Jesus’s ministry.

Who is an Apostle 🌼

An apostle is an individual who is sent forth by God, endowed with the authority to spread the faith, establish churches, and lay down Christian doctrines. They are the pioneers of the faith, crucial to the early establishment and propagation of Christianity.

Difference Between Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher 🌿

These five roles are distinct but work synergistically in the Christian community. Apostles establish; prophets speak God’s word; evangelists spread the gospel; pastors shepherd the flock, and teachers instruct in the faith. Each role is unique but integral to the spiritual well-being and growth of the church.

Final Thoughts 💭

The difference between apostles and pastors is fundamental in understanding the multifaceted structure of the Christian community. It’s crucial to embrace and respect each role, acknowledging their unique contributions to the body of Christ.

7 Positive Action Steps

  1. Educate Yourself: Learn about the different roles within the church to gain a richer, fuller understanding of your faith.
  2. Reflect and Identify: Consider the role you feel most called to within your community of faith, whether it’s as a teacher, a shepherd, or an encourager.
  3. Seek Guidance: If unsure of your calling, seek guidance from your pastoral leaders or mentors within the faith community.
  4. Build Relationships: Establish strong, supportive relationships within your community to foster spiritual growth and mutual encouragement.
  5. Serve Others: Find opportunities to serve others within your community and beyond, reflecting the love and teachings of Christ.
  6. Practice Forgiveness: Embrace forgiveness and reconciliation, allowing for personal and communal healing.
  7. Encourage Vocational Diversity: Appreciate the diversity of vocations within the church and encourage others in their distinctive callings.


  1. Why is understanding the difference between apostle and pastor important? Understanding the difference helps in appreciating the diverse ways God works within the church, enabling believers to respect and value each unique role and contribution to the body of Christ.
  2. Can a pastor also be considered an apostle? It is possible, but typically, the roles are distinct, with apostles focusing on establishing churches and laying foundations of faith, while pastors tend to the spiritual needs of a congregation.
  3. Do all denominations recognize the role of apostles? While the concept is universally recognized within Christianity, interpretations and the emphasis placed on the apostolic role may vary among different denominations.
  4. How do the roles of apostles and pastors contribute to the growth of the church? Apostles contribute by establishing churches and spreading Christianity, while pastors nurture and guide congregations, both roles fostering spiritual growth and strengthening the faith community.
  5. Are the roles of apostle and pastor still relevant today? Absolutely! While the specific duties may evolve, the foundational and nurturing roles of apostles and pastors continue to be crucial in the development and wellbeing of the Christian community.
  6. Is the role of an apostle higher than that of a pastor? No role within the church is considered higher or lower; each role is unique and serves a specific purpose in fulfilling the mission of the church and spreading the teachings of Christ.

Best Bible Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Below is a table featuring some highly regarded Bible Encyclopedias and Dictionaries along with their publishers and websites where they can be found or purchased.

The International Standard Bible EncyclopediaEerdmansEerdmans
Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible DictionaryZondervanZondervan
Easton’s Bible DictionaryThomas NelsonThomas Nelson
Holman Illustrated Bible DictionaryB&H Publishing GroupB&H Publishing Group
The New Unger’s Bible DictionaryMoody PublishersMoody Publishers
HarperCollins Bible DictionaryHarperOneHarperOne
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament WordsThomas NelsonThomas Nelson

You can generally find these resources on the publishers’ websites, as well as other online book retailers such as Amazon or Christianbook. It’s always good practice to confirm availability and review additional details on the specific websites or other reliable online bookstores.


Understanding the difference between apostles and pastor illuminates the diverse, harmonious ways in which God works within the Christian community. While apostles lay foundations and expand the reach of the faith, pastors nurture, guide, and support the flock, ensuring the spiritual well-being of the congregation. By embracing these roles with respect and love, we can foster a more inclusive, united, and vibrant faith community, walking hand in hand towards a future filled with hope, light, and divine love.



  • Greg Gaines

    Father / Grandfather / Minister / Missionary / Deacon / Elder / Author / Digital Missionary / Foster Parents / Welcome to our Family https://jesusleadershiptraining.com/about-us/

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