THE PASTORAL OFFICE
A Guide to Pastoral Leadership
This morning I would like to invite you to you to turn to the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 4. This is a very important passage of scripture relative to the theme we are considering today. In the English New International Version you will notice that this chapter has a title, Treasures in Jars of Clay. The treasures refer to the Gospel. The Jars of Clay refer to those -- and that particularly would include myself and others of you in the pastoral office -- who have the privilege of preaching the Gospel. The illustration aptly shows what poor people we are! In other words, the preachers are not in any way to be identified with the Message that they bring. It isn't the messenger who is important, it's the message, namely, this wonderful treasure. The apostle Paul is thus speaking about the ministry of the Word of God.
Now would you turn with me to the First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 12. In the New International Version, this section is titled, Final Instructions. The Apostle Paul closes all his epistles with a "last word" to his readers -- final instructions. The first instruction that he gives to the believers and to the fellowship at Thessalonaika concerns their pastor. Or if you prefer, the "presiding elder". You will remember that in the early Church there was a teaching elder, sometimes called an "overseer", and in one passage he is even called a "bishop". All of these are equivalent to a Pastor, a Teacher of the Word of God and the spiritual leader of the congregation. Let's see what Paul has to say about the teaching elders, those who lead a congregation:
"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let the light shine out of darkness," made His Light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
"It is written, "I believed; therefore I have spoken" (Psalm 116:10). With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:1-18, NIV).
Now it is clear that it is the elders Paul has in mind, particularly the teaching and preaching elders, because of the way in which he describes them, those....who are OVER you in the Lord", those "who admonish you". Who else in the Church dare have the privilege of admonishing other than the elders, and in particular, the presiding elder, or pastor? So it is the pastor he is speaking about. Now the word "admonish" means, among other things, to "warn people". To warn people of what? To admonish means to warn people of the seriousness of what it is to be outside of God...to be under the wrath and judgment of God. That is part of the pastor's function. To warn people! To warn them of the seriousness of what it means to be outside of God. But the word "admonish" means something else too -- it doesn't just mean to "warn" -- it also means to "teach with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ".
"Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work" (1 Thess.5:12-13a, NIV).
"Respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you" (1 Thess.5:12), Paul says. That little phrase, "who are over you in the Lord" means to have oversight. It means to be an overseer, to watch over God's people -- to have a care for God's people. Now turn with me a couple of pages to the apostle's first epistle to Timothy, to chapter 3, verses 1 and following, and listen there what he says about the office of the pastor. Here he calls him the "overseer":
"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer (pastor), he desires a noble task. Now the pastor must be above reproach, married, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable," -- these are all to do with his character, the sort of person he must be -- but then he comes to his function -- ABLE TO TEACH -- mark that -- able to teach, because that is a major function of the pastor or overseer.
So it is the pastor that the apostle is talking about here at the end of 1 Thessalonians: "Now respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord." What had happened was that the apostle Paul had established a church or congregation at Thessalonaika, which is recorded in the 17th chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, and then, as was his custom whenever he established a body of believers in a place through the preaching of the Word of God, he would give instructions for the appointment of elders to care for them, men who could teach the Word of God and to be in charge of them.
And so here is the apostle telling them now at Thessalonaika how they are to treat this aspect of the total ministry of the Church, how they are to regard the ministry of the elders and the pastoral office. And he tells them that they are to respect it. They are to respect those who work hard who are among them, and who are over them in the Lord, and to hold them in the highest regard, in love, because of their work. Mark that. They are to hold them in the highest regard no so much because of themselves, but because of their WORK. That is what is meant by respecting the pastoral office. It is not because the pastor might be charismatic. It has nothing to do with his being a nice man. They are not to have a high regard for the pastoral office because the pastor happens to be a man with an engaging personality, or because he happens to be the kind of person who is easy to get along with, a man whom one can easily talk to. By the same token, the pastoral office is not to be disrespected because the pastor may be none of these things! No doubt an engaging personality, being easy to get along with and talk to is immensely helpful to the pastoral office but that is not the reason that the apostle Paul urges the people to respect the pastoral office. It is not the reason that he tells them that "you are to have the HIGHEST REGARD" for such a man -- no, the reason is, he says, "BECAUSE OF THEIR WORK".
It is not the man -- the pastor -- that is important, it is the work, it is the message, it is the office of the pastor which is worthy of esteem. Now the first thing that must be said about that work of the pastoral office is this: it is a work, which according to the New Testament, is entrusted to him -- that is, the pastor, BY GOD HIMSELF. This comes out clearly in these words: "We ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you IN THE LORD". It is "in the Lord" that they exercise this oversight. And now let us go on a bit further in our New Testaments, three or four pages ahead, to Paul's epistle to Titus.
Now Titus was a young evangelist. And as you know, an evangelist is a kind of standing apostle. Paul is writing to him to give him some help and some advice in guiding those in the pastoral office. And I want you to notice what he has to say about that pastoral office in chapter 1, beginning at verse 5:
"The reason," says Paul, "I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and ordain elders (note that that is a calling of the apostles, to select pastors and other elders) in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, married, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer (pastor) is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless, not overbearing, not quick tempered, not given to much wine, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, hold and disciplined. HE MUST HOLD FIRMLY TO THE TRUSTWORTHY MESSAGE AS IT HAS BEEN TAUGHT, so that he can encourage others by SOUND DOCTRINE and REFUTE THOSE WHO OPPOSE IT" (Titus 1:5-9).
Now mark what he says -- it is practically identical to what we read earlier in the first epistle to Timothy -- "since an overseer is entrusted with God's work" -- he then goes on to describe that work. So that is the first thing we say about the pastoral office, and the work the pastor is called to do, namely that it is a work that is entrusted to him by God through the revelation and ordination given him through the apostles. And the second thing that we want to say about that work is this -- this too is equally important -- it is the work of a man who has been sent of God. He has been entrusted by God, therefore it means he has been called of God. In other words, this is not a man who has suddenly decided that he will become a preacher -- that he will become a pastor in a way that you might become anything else. The pastoral office chooses the man as opposed to the man choosing the pastoral office. God's hand is upon him. He feels a constraint to do the work of God. And sometimes the constraint is so strong that he cannot resist it. As we are told in that little passage in Titus, it is a work that God has entrusted to him. It is God who has called him. He is not in the pastoral office because he thinks that he might be useful to other people. He is not in the pastoral office because he has a flair for words and for language -- because he is a gifted speaker. He is not in the pastoral office because he has the natural ability to get on with other people. There is only one reason why he is in the pastoral office according to the New Testament; he is in God's work because God Himself has laid His hand upon him! God has entrusted him with His work.
Let us turn back to the Gospel of John, to chapter 1, where John is talking about another John, John the Baptist. This is what he said:
Who was that? The Lord Jesus Christ. But notice what is said of John. He was a man who was sent from God. Now that describes the true pastoral office. The man has been entrusted with God's work, he is a man who has been sent -- first of all, he has been called, God gives him the work, then God sends him. It is very important that we grasp that -- all of us, and not only the pastor himself. It is important because it means that a true pastor will be a man for whom nothing else will matter -- not even when obstacles come in the way, not even if there is criticism, or anything else, it won't matter one little bit -- the validity of his call and work will be seen in one fact only, namely, that God Himself, since He has called him, since He has sent him, since He has entrusted him with that work, the validity of it will be seen on one thing only, that God will bless that work and God will honour it to His own Name and His own glory. That's the validity of the pastoral office. Nothing else validates it, only that.
"There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that Light, so that through Him all men might believe. He himself was not the Light; he came only as a witness to the Light. The True Light that gives light to every man who comes into the world" (John 1:6-9, variant translation of NIV).
Now the next thing that the apostle says about the pastoral office to the saints is this: you are to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord. In other words, this is not only God's work but it is hard work....or it ought to be hard work. If it isn't then a pastor should question whether or not he is doing God's work. "Those who work hard among you" -- now of course hard work is not only manual work, it's not only the kind of work that calls for muscle power -- there is other work that is hard work. And certainly here the apostle is thinking of hard work in an altogether different sense: he is thinking of it in the sense of a responsibility that is carried before God. It is spiritual labour. It is explaining the Gospel, expounding the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures. It is applying the Word of God in the Scriptures to the concrete situations of everyday life for the people. It is warning men and women. It is admonishing people; it is helping, it is encouraging in the things of God. It is BEARING PEOPLE UPON ONE'S HEART. It is having a great burden for the souls and the spiritual welfare of the people that are put into the pastor's charge.
I go back a page or two to Colossians, to chapter 1, and to verse 28. This is how the apostle describes it: "We proclaim (Christ), admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ" (Col.1:28). That's the objective -- to bring people into a saving relationship with God in the Lord Jesus Christ. "To this end," he says, "I labour, struggling with all my energy, which so powerfully works in me" (v.29). What is he saying? He says it's hard work. It takes everything out of me! I put everything into it! That is what he is saying.
In the epistle to the Hebrews he puts it rather differently, in the last chapter, verse 17. Here he is speaking to the saints: "OBEY YOUR LEADERS AND SUBMIT TO THEIR AUTHORITY" -- which, remember, is God's authority. "They keep a watch over you as men who must give an account." And then we ask: To whom does one have to give an account? Is it to the elders? To the Church members? No. One has to ultimately give an account to God. "Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you" (Heb.13:17). Now that is what Paul means when he talks about "those who work hard among you", it is those, in other words, who take the pastoral office seriously, who recognise and realise that a day is coming when they're going to give an account to God for the souls that are in their charge. Now if a pastor does that -- if he takes his work that seriously, then you can take it from me that he's not going to be a slacker! He's going to be diligent. If he accepts what the New Testament teaches about the pastoral office, and that a day is coming when he is going to give an account to God for the souls put in his charge, then he's not going to neglect his work. He will lead a disciplined life. He will know that in order to administer the deep things of God that he must be a man who gives time to the things of God. He will give time to the study of the Word of God. He will give time to things like prayer. He will wrestle with God as well as wrestling with men. Now the apostle Paul, in writing to the young evangelist Timothy and his pastoral duties, how he should take his work seriously, he says this to him when it comes to study. "Study, Timothy, to make yourself approved unto God a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Wod of Truth". Work hard. That is what he is saying. The pastor is to be a man of prayer. He is to be a man who fears God more than he fears any man. He is not content simply to keep the Church's organisation functioning smoothly so that everything ticks over with the precision of clockwork. No, that is part of it, but he is not content with that. He wants the work of God to move forward in the hearts of the people. That's his concern. He will labour to that end, as the apostle rightly says, that he might present everyone perfect in Christ. And if necessary, he will burn himself out in the process. That is what the apostle means when he says: "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you;" and if a pastor is not working hard, he is no pastor.
And then we ask this, finally and quickly: well, what kind of a work is it? What is this work? Why is it rated so highly in the New Testament? What is it in its essence? Well, there are many facets to it -- many sides to it and we could talk about visiting the sick, helping people in distress, councelling the saints, advising people -- helping them with their difficulties -- these are all important aspects of the pastoral office. But the man who is doing the work that God has called him to in the Lord Jesus Christ, and who has entrusted him with this work and with this task, will discover if he looks at the New Testament correctly, and divides it correctly, that there are two functions -- twin functions -- which are pre-eminent in his ministry in the pastoral office. And they are the twin functions of PREACHING THE WORD OF GOD and TEACHING THE WORD OF GOD.
Now I want you to notice -- and this is in the first epistle to Timothy -- that the apostle Paul there gives a charge to Timothy in chapter 3. He lays out what this pastoral function is and the kind of man the pastor has to be. If you look at verse 4: "He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect." Obviously, he says, if anyone doesn't know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's Church? He must not be a recent convert. Why not? Well, he will become conceited, says the apostle, and he will fall into the same judgment as the devil. Well, what was that? That was the sin of pride. And if you get a young man recently a convert, and straight away you put him into a position of leadership, he might become puffed up and refuse to put himself under authority. That was the great sin of the devil -- he became proud. He tried to displace God. "He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devils's trap" (v.7).
But of course these are just facets of his ministry -- the kind of man that he is to be. As I have said, there are many sides to it -- he needs to be able to get on with people, he needs to council and advise them, visit the sick and those in distress, and so on. But that is not the essential work of the office; for the essential work of this ministry we need to look at the second epistle of Paul to Timothy just a couple of pages further on. I want you to look there at chapters 3 and 4. And he gives him a charge. He's charging Timothy as to what he should really be doing and what should come first in his pastoral office. And it is this, chapter 4, verse 1 -- note what a solemn charge it is:
"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His Kingdom, I give you this charge:" -- and here it is -- "PREACH THE WORD; BE PREPARED IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON; CORRECT, REBUKE AND ENCOURAGE -- with great patience and careful instruction". Why is he to give so much time to it? Well, says the apostle, "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine" -- that is, sound teaching. "Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." In other words, they will want people who won't tell them about God's discipline and judgment, or about God's wrath, or about hell, or about anything else that is "uncomfortable", but always talking about how God loves them. Always saying how nice it is to be in the Kingdom, but never reminding them how dreadful it is to be outside of the Kingdom; never reminding them of their responsibilities and of their duties as members of the Church of the Living God. Verse 4: "They will turn their ears AWAY from the truth and they will turn aside to myths." All they want is stories. "But YOU (Timothy), keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry" (2 Tim.4:1-5, NIV).
Now does not Paul emphasise over and over again the importance of this preaching ministry? He says about himself: "Woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel!" And in the scripture we began with, from the second epistle to the Corinthians, you will remember when I said that it was a whole chapter -- chapter 4 -- and that it was about ministry. What does he say? "Therefore since through God's mercy we have this ministry we do not loose heart, but rather we have renounced all secret and shameful ways. We do not use deception, NOR DO WE DISTORT THE WORD OF GOD." In other words, we do not chop up the Bible to suit our own fancies and ideas. We don't distort it. On the contrary, what we do, he says, is this: "...setting forth the truth PLAINLY, we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our Gospel is veiled" -- if it is not understood, if people don't like it, "then", he says, "it is veiled to those who are perishing" -- those who don't want it, those who reject it, because of the "god of this age", that is, satan, "has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. FOR WE DO NOT PREACH OURSELVES" -- we're not interested, he says, in promoting ourselves -- people may not like it, but that's not the important thing. "For we do not preach ourselves, BUT JESUS CHRIST AS LORD" -- that is the function; that is the main function of the pastoral office; it is to bring the Gospel to people who are perishing.
You see, men belittle preaching today. But what I have to say to you, my friends, is this: that PREACHING IS GOD'S METHOD FOR DEALING WITH A PERISHING WORLD -- a lost world. Preaching is God's method for disseminating the truth of His Word. This is why the apostle says to Timothy: Preach the Word. That's the first thing. That's what you are called to be. And notice that it must be the Word that is preached. The reason why so much preaching today has lost its authority and lost its impact is because men do not preach so often the Word. They preach everything else but the Word. Modern biblical cricicism has been allowed to come in and affect their understanding of the Bible, even as pastors and preachers, and it has undermined the authority of the Bible as the Word of God. And, my friends, without authority -- without the authority of the Word, a man cannot preach! He can only talk. He can only disseminate his own ideas. He can only give little homilies -- 20 minute social-political talks to keep people interested. But that is not preaching the Word. That is not preaching this mighty Word of Salvation -- this Word, which says that mighty preacher Jeremiah, "This Word is like a mighty hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces". That's how he describes it.
And the most urgent need in the Church today is authoritative preaching of the Word of God. There is nothing needed in the Church today to match that. That is why the Church has been so weak, because it lacks it so often.
There are two sides to this preaching ministry. There is preaching which is proclamation of the great mighty saving acts of God in the Lord Jesus which I want to tell you about today -- that God, in the Lord Jesus Christ, has come to meet with you in all your need, whoever you are. That is preaching -- telling you what God has done for you in the Lord Jesus Christ -- that His Son died for you, He shed His blood for you, gave His body for you, that you might be redeemed! He calls upon you to put faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is preaching -- it is proclamation! It is GOOD NEWS! It is good news to know that you can get right with God. That is preaching and proclamation.
But the other side to preaching is, of course, teaching. That means, outlining the great truths of Scripture, the great doctrines of the Bible to those who are believers, to the Christians of the Church, so that they may be built up in their faith, that they may have a good understanding of their faith. You know, politicians usually know their facts very well, and you hear them waxing eloquent in debate in defence of their politics. But so often young Christians know little about the Word of God. Indeed, not only the young saints, but the saints of all ages. Hitler had an enormous recall for details, and with that knowledge he kept his generals in check. He knew where he stood, and he stood by his teaching to the bitter end. But that was error. We have the truth, yet do we know it? Can we teach it? The Antichrist, when he makes himself known, will have tremendous knowledge and power, and his followers will likewise be indoctrinated like the Nazis and Communists of old. But will we know our doctrine -- will we know the Word of God -- well enough to refute them, and bring them to salvation? The Word of God is spiritual power -- God's Word is infinitely powerful if it is preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. So it is a pastor's business -- and woe unto him if he doesn't do it -- to teach the Word of God that people might grow in understanding of the truth. He is not to teach bits and pieces here and there from the Scriptures, things which personally interest him, but he must systematically teach the doctrines of the Kingdom, the doctrines that save and empower.
For the Pastor preaching and teaching should mean absolutely everything, because it is the great and mighty task of bringing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ into peoples' lives. There is nothing in all this world to come near that. And this is why Paul reminds them in the Thessalonican fellowship to to respect and esteem their pastors, not for themselves -- the man is nothing -- but because of the WORK that they are called upon to do. Therefore I ask those of you who are not pastors to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord, who admonish you -- hold them in the highest regard in love BECAUSE of their work. What a great work it is! The work of salvation. And we're all involved in it, not only the pastors, but also the people. But of course he goes on to say something about the people's work too. But that is another subject that we shall deal with in another seminar.
I have today outlined very simply what the pastor's main function is, namely to preach and teach. He is to do these things, moreover, with authority. But how does one preach and teach with authority? Again, as I have told you, the pastor must do alot of praying and studying. But there is a third element to successful teaching and preaching, and that is experience -- in other words, getting on with it. Practice makes perfect.
When a pastor is preaching in the pulpit he must be the one in charge. He is there to lead, not be led. He must be absolutely sure of what he believes in. Therefore he must preach what he knows. He must never apologise -- indeed, he must never focus on himself -- he must never excuse himself, but have as his focus the Word of God -- the Scriptures. He must believe the Scriptures with all his heart and read them as though God Himself were speaking. For when a man is reading the Word of God and is filled with the Holy Spirit, it IS truly God who is speaking. And when God speaks through a man, there you have authoritative preaching. He must therefore also be alive and energetic.
It follows that a pastor must know that he has been called -- he must be sure that it is God who has called him, and not an apostle. Though a call will come through an apostle, that pastor must also be called personally. If a man feels called to be a pastor, he should report his concern to the apostle responsible for his area, and the apostle will seek confirmation of the call.
A pastor is not called by a congregation -- he is not elected by the Body. But the Body must nevertheless sustain him. If they reject a pastor, then that must be respected, though they must take responsibility for that action. Once a congregation has sustained a pastor, then it is their duty to really uphold and sustain him, giving him respect and obedience, as we have seen. A pastor not sustained by the people works under a double burden and cannot easily find joy in his task. Therefore when the people sustain, it must not only be with the uplifted hand, but with all their hearts, in their prayers and in practical support.
We have also seen from the scriptures we have read that a pastor must have certain qualiications and these I propose to list for you as they appear in the New Testament and briefly discuss them. They are as follows:
The pastor is not a super-man, of course. In his own strength he can do few of these things. But pre-eminently he must be a man of Christ -- a man of God; he must constantly be in touch with God who will supply his every need. He will not attempt to do any of the above of his own strength but will rely on, and trust in, God's promises to supply him with grace. He will, in short, be a spiritual father on earth, a living example of the Gospel.
1. He must be above reproach, that is, blameless. That means that he must not be guilty of any accusation that would reflect badly on his Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, or on the Body he leads by example. He mustn't swear, dress messily, speak evil of others, over-eat, and so on -- in short, he must be a model disciple of Christ;
2. He must be married. A pastor must minister to both men and women and cannot address family problems if he himself does not have a family, nor will he understand women unless he has an imtimate relationship with his wife;
3. He must be temperate. This means that that he must be moderate, self-restrained, sparing, not a glutton -- in other words, not going to excess in anything;
4. He must be self-controlled, not quick-tempered. It will be impossible to provoke him to bad temper, he will be able to deny himself for the sake of others. He must be extremely patient and not strike back when others abuse him or falsely accuse him;
5. He must be respectable. What does it mean to deserve respect? To be held in the highest regard by both believers and unbelievers, one to be admired for all his Christian attributes, to be of high moral itegrity;
6. He must be hospitable. He must be friendly and generous to guests or strangers, making visitors feel welcome by feeding them, making them comfortable, etc.;
7. He must not be given to much wine. In New Testament times it was usually unsafe to drink water and thus alcholic drinks were normative. In the light of the ban on alcohol for Priesthood in the Old Testament, however, and especially John the Baptist's example (a man sent by God much like a modern-day pastor), pastors in the New Covenant are expected to abstain from alcohol altogether;
8. He must not be violent but gentle. As an imitator of Jesus Christ, who is represented as a gentle lamb in the Scriptures, he should be of a kind, mild, and gentle nature (this does not mean, of course, that he should not be firm);
9. He must not be quarrelsome. He should not get into heated arguments and debates but present the Gospel firmly and calmly. As one who has the peace of the Gospel he should not get emotionally disturbed or upset, but should always be in complete control of his mind and feelings;
10. He must not be a lover of money. He is not interested in getting rich, merely in having enough to sustain himself and his family. If he is unable to support his family because of the demands of the pastoral office, then his income may be supplemented by the offerings of the local congregation; but he is in no circumstances to have a fixed "salary" nor is he to expect the Church to support him entirely. He should ideally be self-supporting;
11. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect (not wild and disobedient). This means he must spend time with his family -- he is not entitled to neglect his family because of his work. Unlike an apostle, he is a standing minister and must function as a normal member of the community. To manage his family he must organise it properly, discipline it, teach it, and manifest love. It is for this reason that a pastor must be married, for the raising of a family is a shadow of raising a congregation, the Body being his extended family, as it were. If he cannot command the respect of his children, then he has certain character flaws that disqualify him for the pastoral office. Indeed, the scriptures also say that his children must be believers.
12. He must not be a recent convert. He must have been matured by life to some extent. Though there will be exceptions when exceptionally spiritual young men are found, in general pastors should be men who have learned the follies of the flesh by obedience to the Gospel and by constant application of spiritual truths. The Gospel is deep; and whilst it may be possible for exceptionally gifted persons to absorb doctrines quickly, it takes time to apply them in daily living and to be matured by them;
13. He must have a good reputation with outsiders. He must be known for his integrity, honesty, modesty -- indeed, Christian graces. A man who does not have these will not attract unbelievers, they will not draw him into their confidence whereby they might then yield themselves up for teaching and preaching. Christiana who set bad examples -- and particularly Christian leaders like pastors -- do more damage for the cause of the Gospel than anything else, for outsiders will not trust them and will misjudge the Gospel on the basis of their conduct and not the true principles of Jesus' teaching
14. They must be hard workers. It is hard work being a good parent, taking much time and effort -- quality time, moreover. Likewise a pastor, if he is to do a good job, must invest considerable time and effort into the ministry, going the extra mile, wrestling over people's problems, serving others at all times of the day and night, sacrificing holidays if necessary, etc.;
15. They must be courageous. It is impossible to be a minister of salvation without courage. He cannot be a back-seat or an arm-chair pastor. He cannot hide in the closet. He has to be out in the forefront teaching, preaching, admonishing, etc.. He must be energetic and daring, trusting in the Lord to supply his every need even if by biological nature he is not these things;
16. He must not pursue dishonest gain. He will cheat noone, even if his employers are dishonest. He will therefore pay his taxes and do all that is required of him in righteousness without murmuring;
17. He must love what is good, upright, noble, disciplined and upright. He will only ever desire to cleave to righteousness and the world will hold no appeal for him in any way;
18. He must strictly adhere to revealed doctrine and practice and refute those who oppose it. He is not entitled to pursue pet interests and become absorbed in "gospel hobbies", but must only teach what God has spoken. He must oppose any false teaching, wherever and whenever it is spoken, and not be so liberal as to accept any point-of-view "for the sake of peace". He must, of course, do so in a tolerant manner, showing mildness, kindness and long-suffering. But he must never give the impression that he accepts false doctrine by his never standing up against it.
19. He must be able to encourage others. If he is not in the Lord he will be overwhelmed by his calling and be ineffective. He must always have a surpluss of energy, which God supplies him, for as a leader others will rely upon him. He must therefore always be prepared, at short notice, to intervene or be available in any situation. He will always have someting for someone, because the Spirit of God will be in him.
20. He will be teachable. He will be subject to the apostles and will not set himself up as his own authority. He will therefore remain under authority -- under the authority of God, and under the authority of His earthly representitives, the apostles, who are his earthly instructors.
He is no ordinary man, but a man called of God. He will have a clear vision of his own limitations but also a strong faith in the provision of his Heavenly Father. Pastors are made, and they are made through constant daily application and enthusiastic service for their fellow men. Theirs is one of the most sacred callings of all. They are accountable too. Therefore a true pastor is worthy of respect and obedience.
From a series of seminars given in July 1992 in Våler, Østfold, Norway.
This page was created on 22 May 1998
Last updated on 22 May 1998
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