Difference Between Preacher and Pastor

Religious or not, certain religion-related words often confuse people. Even people who claim to be proficient in their faith and language misuse these words and are confused.

One such example of a pair of words is preacher and pastor. They are both terms of Christianity and are often used distinguishably.

Many people, sometimes even those belonging to the church use them interchangeably. The two words, however, have different meanings and thus, in turn, their unique use.

Preacher vs Pastor

The difference between preacher and pastor is that a preacher is someone who spreads the word of God and does not perform any formal duties for the congregation. But a pastor on the other hand is someone who has a more formal role and is said to oversee the congregation and guide it towards salvation.

Preacher vs Pastor

The formality and responsibilities are what distinguish the two mainly. Many preachers are also identified as pastors and perform the duties of both.

In that case, perhaps it is correct to use the two terms interchangeably. But it mainly depends on the person himself or herself, what their preference might be. 

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPreacherPastor
JobA preacher has a job that focuses on proclaiming and spreading God’s word or teachings of the Bible and Jesus Christ.A pastor is mainly concerned with oversight of a congregation.
CriteriaPreachers can be any member of the church or congregation; they just need to preach the word of God. There are no particular criteria for them, except for strong communication skills.Pastors often have to get an ordinance and have certain skills for this job. They can be preachers too but usually, another person of the church is chosen for the job of the preacher.
DutiesPreachers are often assistants to pastors and perform duties as such.Pastors administer the congregation and oversee them.
OriginThe word preacher comes from the word preach and thus has a similar meaning in terms of duties of the preacher.The word pastor has its meaning and origin in the word shepherd. Thus, a pastor’s duties include overseeing and administering a congregation as a shepherd does to a flock.
RankPreachers are ranked lower than pastors, preacher bishops rank however than pastors.Pastors are higher in rank to preachers owing to their appointment and duties.

What is Preacher?

A preacher is someone who by definition proclaims the word of God and preaches it. They spread messages from the gospel, words of Jesus Christ and other such spiritual messages.

They are usually a member of the church or a congregation with good communication skills. They are not necessarily ordinated.

Their goal is to convince their listeners or audience of something using their skills as a preacher and conveying impactful messages. In many ways, they are somewhat similar to motivational speakers.

The duties of Preachers are different from the duties of a pastor. They are more like an assistant to the pastor who overlooks a congregation.

The preachers here just help the pastor by proclaiming and spreading the beliefs of Christianity and the messages of the Bible. Nowadays, it often happens that the pastors also act as the preachers while taking that title as well.

In that case, perhaps it can be said that the preacher is performing the duties of the pastor. But otherwise, a preacher and a pastor have mostly different duties and ranks.


What is Pastor?

A pastor is a local church leader. Their job is to oversee the congregation and take care of them.

The term pastor derives its meaning from the word shepherd and thus as a shepherd tends to a flock, a pastor tends to the congregation. The duties of a pastor are thus similar.

They are qualified to provide counsel in case of spiritual, emotional, and religious need. Being a pastor requires a degree in theology and an ordinance.

Pastors have a great amount of authority in the church. They are also called church elders.

Sometimes it happens that a pastor also serves as a preacher. The pastor takes on the duties and responsibilities of a preacher and performs all of those in addition to his own.

Being a pastor tends to involve some amount of preaching priorly which comes with leading a congregation and preserving their faith. But when a pastor takes on the duties of a preacher, these duties increase manifold and he has to spend a lot more time preaching and proclaiming the faith.


Main Differences Between Preacher and Pastor

  1. A pastor is someone who oversees a congregation and leads them. A preacher on the other hand is someone who proclaims the religious faith and preaches the word of God and other spiritual messages.
  2. The main job of a pastor is to lead the congregation and offer them spiritual, religious, and emotional counsel. The preacher spreads the spiritual message and the message of religion from the Bible.
  3. Pastors rank above preachers and have to perform their daily duties. There is no such rule for the preachers. However, the preacher bishops rank above the pastors.
  4. The word pastor originates from the word shepherd and has the same meaning. The word preacher comes from the word preach which means to spread a message and thus sheds light on the duties of a preacher.
  5. There is no ordinance or a specific set of qualifications required to be a preacher, communication skills might be needed. To be a pastor, a degree in theology, an ordinance and certain other criteria must be fulfilled.
Difference Between Preacher and Pastor


  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/central-european-history/article/priest-preacher-pastor-research-on-clerical-office-in-early-modern-europe/3AA797A09E658CB0F7F3ECABDC3BCC47
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6TxSyhOwagwC&oi=fnd&pg=PT1&dq=Preacher+and+Pastor+&ots=zc2lhT13mm&sig=YJI-0cwK8bIWZgb7cgNAGEliX3w
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