Home Columnist 12 kinds of pastors: How to know them and their operations by Dr. Akin John
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12 kinds of pastors: How to know them and their operations by Dr. Akin John

by Church Times


I have come to discover 12 kinds of Pastors that are visible in the Church today. Though not all, but these twelve represent majority of Pastors leading Churches today. That’s why the conditions of the pastors are the conditions of the local churches.


(1 Timothy 6:35; Isaiah 56:10,11; 2:14).

They are businessmen and women who see the ministry as an avenue to make money. They function as the Chief Executive Officers of their Churches. The Church is run with business principles. Their major emphasis is *money, finance, prosperity, and how to make it. They are in absolute control of everything.

Basic Motive: Gain and profit. Their programmes are targeted at how much money is realized. They are using God’s name, the Church, and the Bible to make money and enrich themselves.

Demerits: No heaven-mindedness, disciples, and godliness. They breed Christians who are greedy for gain, profit-oriented, thieves, and crooks. They engage in lying, fantastic promises and spurious prophesies.They apportion Church position to the highest bidder.

Way Out: True repentance, freedom from financial lucre, and restoration of balanced truth to the church. Business Pastors have brought a lot of misrepresentation to the Church.



(2 Timothy 4:3, 4; Jeremiah 6:13)


Worldly, carnal, ungodly Pastors who water down the gospel to please people. They dress anyhow and they allow anything in the Church. They are immoral. They are sex-maniacs who take advantage of people. Their messages are about liberty, ministry on the broadways, an easy way to heaven and making you somebody in life.

Basic Motives: Keep the people happy. Don’t offend them by telling them the truth. They exert influence and power over people in order to get their money. Youths and young people enjoy these kinds of Pastors.

Demerits: No mention of sin, evil, hell or righteousness. Their focus is miracle, blessing and breakthroughs. Secular talk shows are allowed. Immorality, extra-marital affairs, and pre-marital sex are overlooked all in the belief that God is a loving God. Funky pastors have brought much shame to the Pastoral ministry and their name.

Way Out: Genuine repentance and restitution, or else…


(Ezekiel 34:2, 3)

They are in the ministry, not as a result of God’s call, but by the call of men. They see pastoring as a hobby. They love the honour and respect being given to Pastors. Tribal sentiments, ethnic bias, connection to authority, wealth, status and oratory power are what were used to make them Pastors. Educational qualifications and greasing of palms also figure here.

Basic Motive:

To rule over others and to be seen and respected by them. They don’t have any vision, purpose, or commission from the Lord. They therefore lord themselves over the people, using threats and position to oppress those who are genuinely called.


They are not concerned with anyone or the Church once their position is secured. They lead Church backward through secular management systems. They don’t train, develop or empower anyone. The Church is always malnourished and spiritually weak under such Pastors. Their ministrations are always devoid of God’s power and their sermons always make people sick. Vocational or honorary Pastors have caused much havoc for the Church today.

Way Out: Seek the face of God as to His plan for your life, resignation and functioning where God wants you.


They were called by the Lord, but they are not in tune with the moves of God today. They are holy, godly, and righteous but they are trapped in yesterday’s ways because they are ultra-conservative. Old tradition, dogma and doctrinal correctness is their forte. They spend only on their one gift to lead the Church, they detest learning and change.

Basic Motive: To survive and bring back old time religion. They are therefore prejudiced against growth, change, and new strategies that also conform to scriptures. They are good in hymnals, bell-ringing, and order of service that have become routine and lifeless today. Their relational skills are weak and very low.

Demerits: Lack of vision, purpose and direction in the Church. The work is backward; they are confused because changes that have occurred have left them behind. They, therefore, experience crisis, breakaway, stagnation, and backdoor losses.They do everything in the Church because they don’t trust anybody. They are skeptical of people and change. Pastors of yesterday usually don’t know the new moves of God for today; because they are too busy looking at yesterday.

Way Out: Change, personal growth, disabused mindset and new focus of the move of God today.


(Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 23:11; Micah 3:11)

Description: They were once Servants of the Lord, but have now backslid. They no longer have time to preach, pray, nourish people and prepare them for heaven. All their time is taken up with meetings upon meetings. They have become servants of the people. Bad friends, economic hardship, and strange teachings have changed them.

Basic Motive:

To make it, either by force or by fire. They therefore engage in Church politics. They become cunning, crafty, arm-twisting and they can speak from both sides of the mouth. Their strategic closeness to Church authority make them to determine the transfer, promotion, discipline and suspension of other Pastors that are many times better than them. Character assassination is their modus–operandi.


Their Churches always suffer because they are not always around due to frequent meetings. They are spiritually dry, unable to get fresh insight from God and the Church suffers spiritually. They get involve in scandals which they use for their political manouvering to cover up. Political Pastors needs to return back to the Lord, or else…

Way Out: Remember where you have fallen, repent and return back to the Lord. Stop Church politics and concentrate on the primary job of pastoring, leading, nourishing and preparing people for heaven.


(Revelation 2:20,24: Revelation 3:9)

These are the people who have no business being in the ministry, but they are there all the same. Some are former occult practitioners who claim to be born-again, while others are herbalists and magicians who decide to hoodwink people by evolving into being Pastors. They live double lives. They appear to eat at the Lord’s table but also deal with the devil in secret. They use means and demonic power to perform spurious miracles.

Basic Motives: Their motive is gain, power and control over people. They therefore use candles, coconut, incense, salt, kolanut, sponge, soaps, special baths and native roots as “prayer support.” They engage in fake vision, false prophecy and spurious miracles. They read the sixth and seventh books of Moses. They are usually polygamous and womanizers.

Demerits: Using other means to ‘Jazz’ up the work so that crowds can come; people under bondage and oppression; making people sure children of hell; immorality thrives; witchcraft and calamities in Churches; people dying and losing their destiny in such Churches. The oppressive air of bondage will be thick. No form of godly spirituality among the people. Occultic Pastors will always be exposed by their traits and they will lose their ministries sooner or later.

Way Out: True repentance and knowing the Lord afresh, turning away from the synagogue of Satan.



(Zephaniah 3:4)

Description: These are proud, garrulous, self-centered, and self-willed Pastors. They are islands; too busy to attend conferences or seminars or listen to anybody’s tape. They believe that everyone should learn from them but they cannot learn from others. Their anointing has grown to the extent that they don’t need to read the Bible every day, have a time for prayer and fast unto the Lord.

Basic Motives: Their motive is to succeed in ministry financially, materially, and socially. They, therefore, spend Church money to buy expensive shoes, clothing, cars, and properties. They have nothing to really give to people spiritually. They thrive on stories, noise, demonstrations, pushing people, and mimicked styles and prophecies. Their sermons dwell on their worth, wealth, and fame.

Demerits: People are fed half-truths, lies, and motivational talks. They are always on the move, have nothing really to share, and give to the people. The people are therefore largely unsaved, canal, sinful, ungodly, and religious. They, therefore, move away to where the grass is green and the water is still. Shallow Pastors will always lose serious Christians to other Churches.

Way Out: Return to the Lord, load yourself and prepare to feed people with balanced diet of the Word.


Description: These are ministry-focused Pastors. They are committed to and consumed by the work of the ministry. In their order of priorities, the ministry is number one and everything else takes a secondary position. These Pastors neglect their families, children, and personal lives in the name of doing ministry. Their children are wayward, bitter, uncatered for, angry, and unconverted. Their wives are miserable, frustrated, neglected; feel cheated and lonely.

Basic Motives: To fulfill their ministry irrespective of anything or anybody. Their desire is to prove themselves and the readiness to neglect everything for the ministry. They move from crusade to revivals, from prayer mountains to special seminars. They are too spiritual to play, pray, enjoy and relax with their wives, children, and family, because sinners are perishing. They are always in a hurry.

Demerits: They experience divorce, have wayward children, unsettled homes, and unfulfilled ministry. Their wives become demonized or engage in extramarital affairs due to frequent absence and lack of care. Pastors that give the ministry the number one priority above their God, home, and personal development will always experience crisis, breakaway, and being forsaken by the Lord. Lack of peace, progress, and tranquility, both in the Church and in personal lives will always be the outcome of the mistake of putting ministry before God and your family. Ministry Pastors will always experience burnout and frustration in ministry.

Way Out: Return back to the Lord. Make your God and family number one and two, and ministry as number three.


(Revelation 3:14-19)

Description: physically okay but spiritually sick. Sick because they don’t know the Lord, they are sinful, ungodly, evil, immoral, and wicked. Though they sometimes find themselves leading large congregations, yet, they preach the Jesus they have not met. They only use their spiritual activities to cover their spiritual nakedness.

Basic Motives: They don’t know why they are in the ministry. They want to be like the Jones and Joneses. They are copycats. They struggle with sin, evil and low self-image. They take out their anger, sin, and frustration on the people. They are sick because they lack basic leadership skills. They are sick because they are not good examples and role model to follow. They are sick because they operate under curses and disobedience.

Demerits: Destroyed lives of people under them; carnal, covetous, stinginess, unforgiving spirit, and readiness to curse and destroy people who dare question their ungodly activities. They usually kill Churches and cause stagnation by making the saints to sin and backslide. Sick Pastors will always produce sick Churches that will find growth very difficult and stagnation very easy.

Way Out: Repent, seek the Lord, apologize and do new work.



They have experienced back-stabbing, disappointment, and calamities in ministry. Their work has dealt them a hard blow. Through some mistakes and ignorance, they have been wounded in ministry. They are therefore bitter, sad, hurting, and hateful in the ministry.

Basic Motive: Vengeance, retribution and survival. They have been wounded by sin, devil, people, partners, colleagues and members. Some have lost wives, husbands, children, names, properties and health in the course of doing ministry. Some have deep pain due to betrayal by mentors, leaders, associates, and spouses. And the wound is fresh and new.

Demerits: Bleeding hearts, hurtful feelings, lack of trust, discouragements, frustration and quitting the ministry. They don’t help anybody in the ministry again and they are always skeptical of people’s intentions. The unforgiveness in their hearts hinder the flow of God’s spirit in them. As long as you don’t allow the Lord to heal you, your Church will always suffer the hangover of your wounded heart.

Way Out: Release the past; hand over your hurts unto the Lord and march on in faith. Forgive and forbear.


They are Pastors on the move, who are always on the fast lane of life. Moving from city to city, nation to nation, making money at the expense of the souls under them. They spend weeks away from the Church. They junket from place to place in the name of doing ministry while the Church at home is dying and scattering. They monitor by means of audio and video messages of sermons.

Basic Motive: Money, pleasure and properties. They use God to better their lot in life. Their living standard is above the income of their Church. They always travel for ministration and business deals. While traveling, they continue to monitor the Church through phone, emails, websites, phone-in-conference. They use these technologies to conduct services on Sunday and at vigils. In some cases, they stay permanently abroad and control the Church from there.

Demerits: Their associates are not trusted; they are given responsibilities without authority. The Church goes through turmoil, murmuring and lack of care, nurture and empowering. Such Pastors lose their Churches, their people and they eventually capitulate to the God of mammon, pleasure and fame. They lose their God and their ministry. God usually replace them with capable people who have a heart for things of eternal value.

Way Out: Genuine repentance, restoration, and rediscovering the basic purpose of ministry.


Description: Very few, but these are Pastors after God’s heart. They are called and commissioned by the Lord. They pursue a God-given vision. They display high integrity, character, godliness, and a heart for things of eternal value. They are not perfect, but growing every day. They are balanced, learning, open to change, and full of the Holy Spirit.

Basic Motive: They desire to make an impact. They want to see lives, families, nations, and cities transformed for the Lord. They have no personal empire to build; rather they want to extend the frontiers of God’s kingdom throughout the whole world. They see ministry as an opportunity to serve, help and empower others. They de-emphasize money, gain, and pleasure.

Strengths: They invest in people; sharpen their leadership skills; maintain good relational skills; work over their weaknesses, build godly character; empower, equip and enable others to rise up to their highest potentials. They are not threatened by the gift of others.

They speak the truth with grace and seek to disciple everyone for the Lord. They ensure that the Church is built on the truth, undiluted and balanced Word of God. They Pastor growing Churches where the people are genuine Christians that continually grow in the things of the Lord. They raise leaders and equip them to carry on the work of God.

Results: Good, great and growing Churches that will go on to affect things positively for God.

From these descriptions of twelve kinds of pastors, you can see that only one can really lead the Church to true and sustainable growth. This is the reason why majority of our Churches are sick, stagnant, crisis–ridden and are dying today because they are being pastored by the wrong kind of pastors.

*Where are you? You can repent and change today to be a growing Pastor in all ramifications so as to lead the Church into the future.


May we not labour in vain. In Jesus Mighty Name. Amen.



Culled from the book, “Grow the Pastor, Grow the church” by Bola Akin-John . (First published in 2006.) www.icgm.com.ng

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1 comment

Adeboyejo Oganbule April 27, 2022 - 7:49 pm

Thanks for your great information, the church is dieing gradually, for lack of knowledge.. the truth about many under Sheppard today is selfish ambition.


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