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A Healthy Pastor

April 3, 2017

Charisma, vision, speaking skill and a winning personality are qualities prized in a pastor. Many churches seem to require the pastor be a world class motivational speaker with the innovative ability of an Apple exectuive. But what modern Americans value in a pastor is not always what God values in a pastor.

The Bible never requires a pastor have a winning personality, the ability to cast a vision or a powerful presence in the pulpit. The Bible requires those who would shepherd the flock of God to serve selflessly, possess Godly character and hold to sound doctrine.

The pastor is entrusted with the leadership of the church. He is the elder who administrates the affairs of the church. He is the bishop who superintends the mission of the church. He is the shepherd who watches over the spiritual well being of its members. The pastor is entrusted with caring for the souls of the church. The importance of the pastor’s work cannot be overstated. A Godly pastor will lead a church to grow in Christ. An unqualified pastor will weaken the church, hinder the spread of the gospel, discourage Christians and dishonor the name of Jesus.

The books of 1 Timothy and Titus each contain a list of requirements of the character, ministry and testimony of a man who would be pastor. These lists are daunting. The temptation is to attempt to lessen their force by explaining them away as not being really requirements. If a man seems like a good guy who tries then it doesn’t really matter if his character is blameless. The temptation is to view the qualifications as a pick and choose list. If he has the most important ones (whatever you consider those to be) and most of the others then a failure in one or two of the “lesser” qualities can be overlooked. God’s requirements are not multiple choice, suggestions or general guidelines. They are His prerequisites for pastoral ministry. A church that attempts to lessen God’s requirements makes a terrible mistake.

God requires the shepherds of His church to be men of the highest Christian character. The pastor will not be perfect, but the pattern of his life must match all that God requires. His character must possess the positive virtues and must not have the forbidden elements.

The Christian’s expectations of the pastor must be shaped by God’s requirements. The Christian should never expect that which God forbids. The Christian should be careful to not treat his expecations as more important than God’s instructions. While everyone desires a pastor with great speaking ability, the Bible only requires the ability to teach. Be wary of elevating personal desires overs God’s desires. Be careful the world’s idea of a model leader does not become the church’s standard for a pastor. American Christianity has already suffered too many times because of unfit pastors. Eloquence and charisma are always poor substitutes for integrity, humility and orthodoxy. Remember that what God requires of a pastor is wisest and best for His church.


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