So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. (Romans 14:12)
John Wesley famously told his preachers that they have nothing to do but to save souls.
If we are not listening carefully to him, we might fall into the trap of thinking he is aiming at mere conversion. This might sound like an appeal for a kind of altar-rail salvation that takes a much too narrow view of the meaning of salvation but packages well in American culture.
Conversion is important, crucial even. But it is just a step in the process of salvation. It is salvation begun but not salvation completed. Salvation is not complete until the second coming when the book of life is opened and read.
If that is true, then the work of the pastor is not conversion but fruit. Each one of us will stand one day before the Lord who will judge us. And so the work of the pastor is to help people get ready to have their lives laid bear before the judgement seat of God.
Saving faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary for this work. It is the power to destroy sin and remove guilt and shame, but it is not everything. We can’t be saved without coming to faith in Christ, but coming to faith is the beginning rather than the end of the journey.