Thursday, November 17, 2005

"We have a good pastor"...REALLY?

When I ask someone about his or her church, I often hear, "We have a really good pastor." So, allow me to take this opportunity to ask a question: What make a pastor good? After some people have told me that their pastor is really godly, I have asked them several questions:

  • How does he treat his wife at home, in regular every day life?
  • What is his wife like? Is she trustworthy and cheerful as she goes about her daily tasks?
  • What are his children like?
  • Is he a patient man, full of self-control as he goes about life on a day to day basis?
  • How does he spend his free time?
  • How often do you spend time with your pastor outside of the official church functions?

I have been alarmed to see that many people do not know the answers to many of the above questions. They do not know what their pastor is really like outside of the church building. But listen to what the Bible says about qualifications of leaders in God's church:

Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church? (1 Tim 3:2-5 NIV)

In light of the Scriptures, how can someone know if his or her pastor is actually a "good pastor" if the pastor's daily life is unknown? Is your pastor really qualified to be a pastor? Going to seminary does not automatically qualify someone to be a pastor. Knowing Greek doesn't qualify someone as being a pastor. A good public speaker doesn't qualify. According to the Bible, being "able to teach" is one of many qualifications. Let's not hinge everything on that one quality. Think about how many "good pastors" have ended up falling into sin, sometimes horrible and vile sin! How many pastors are really accountable? How many pastors are truly godly men, qualified to be pastors?

By the way, a "pastor" is a gifting. For one to be a pastor, God must give him the spiritual gifts necessary to shepherd God's church. It is a GIFT that cannot be earned. God GIVES it. "It was he who GAVE some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers" (Eph 4:11). It cannot be earned by going to seminary. Although, of course, a pastor will study the Bible, he cannot "earn" the gift of pastor by studying the Bible. It is a GIFT.

Hopefully this short writing has helped you to think about the disjointed church experience that is all too common these days. Allow me to make this simple appeal: "And we beseech you, brethren, to KNOW them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you" (1 Thess 5:12 KJV). We must know the lives of those who are leaders in God's church. We should know each other's lives too, but how much more the lives of a "pastor"!

1 comment:

Dan said...

Hi Jason... found your shameless plug on FTM. =)

As for knowing your pastor, I think that one of the big differences between today's churches and the churches of the first century is that the churches back then were communities that met almost every day-or even lived together. The early Christians didn't all meet once a week and have some worship and prayer time with a sermon and then disappear for the rest of the week. They were like extended families that took care of each other every day.

These days, church most often consists of a visit once a week -two or three times a week for the especially "righteous"- with a few ministries thrown in here and there. As you are saying, very few people know their pastor outside of the church.

Excellent point.