The nature of the pastoral office and how that fits with the priesthood of all believers has vexed many Christians, especially Lutherans, for whom it has become a divisive issue. What do you think about this line of thinking, drawing from my essay on vocation?
A priest is someone who performs a sacrifice. Before God, we need no sacrifices, since Christ is our great high priest who sacrificed Himself once and for all for our sins. But Scripture speaks of different kinds of sacrifices, presenting our body as a living sacrifice (mortification, FWS?), the sacrifice of thanksgiving, bearing the Cross, the sacrifice of dying to self for our neighbor. All of these happen in vocation.
Protestants usually don’t call their pastors “priests.” Catholics do, since they believe the priest offers up the sacrifice of Christ again in the mass. (Anglicans do, but they consider the term to be related to “presbyter.”) Instead, Protestants use “pastor,” “minister,” “preacher,” etc.
Could it be that a pastor is a priest in exactly the same way laypeople are? When they present their bodies as a living sacrifice in serving their parishioners, when they bear the Cross in the frustrations of the ministry, etc.? Nevertheless, being “called” into the ministry is a high office and vocation from God, so that the pastor is the means Christ uses to proclaim His Word, to baptize, and to convey His Body and Blood to His people.
The priesthood of all believers would thus NOT mean that “everyone is a minister,” or that pastors are not necessary, or that pastors do not occupy a divinely ordained office, or that there is no distinction between pastors and laity. All believers, though, including pastors, are nevertheless priests, an office they exercise in whatever vocations they hold.