What Does The Bible Teach About Pastors?
The Bible teaches that a pastor is a qualified man who leads a local church in word and deed. The Bible uses the illustration of a shepherd with his flock to help us understand this relationship. The pastor is the shepherd and the church members are the flock. The pastor has the responsibility to lead, love, and care for those whom God has given him.
The Call Of A Pastor
- All believers are given spiritual gifts to edify the church and have the indwelling Holy Spirit to be a witness to the world. Some men are given the “gift of pastor,” which is often referred to as Jesus “calling” that man to be a full-time vocational minister, such as a pastor or missionary.
Ephesians 2:10; 4:7-8, 11; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 12:11
- The call of a pastor then is not God orally telling you what to do, but it is acknowledging and submitting to the gifts that He has enabled you with. Certain men will have an inclination to give their life to God for full-time service. But how can they know for sure? They can recognize “the call” through the following steps: desire, ability, lifestyle, and confirmation.
- Step 1, Desire: God works in you through the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will and gives you desires to fulfill His plan for your life. In Christ, these new desires might be God calling you to serve Him vocationally. Question: Is there an inner compulsion that is leading you to consider being a pastor?
1 Timothy 3:1; Philippians 2:13
- Step 2, Ability: The work of a pastor is the perfecting of the saints. He accomplishes this through preaching and teaching the Bible, leading by example, and watching over, caring for, and serving the saints. Question: Do you have leadership skills, the ability to communicate the Bible, and a compassionate heart to lead God’s people?
Ephesians 4:11:12; 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17; Titus 1:9; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2-3
- Step 3, Lifestyle: A pastor must have a lifestyle that is holy and can be imitated by others. No believer is perfect, but He should be striving to live a life that is not characterized by sin but characterized by godly living. Question: Are you living a life that other believers can follow?
1 Peter 1:15-16
- Step 4, Confirmation: A pastor’s work and lifestyle must be accepted by a church for him to lead it. Therefore, the judgement of other mature believers can serve as an indicator to whether you have the gift or not. Proverbs encourages us to seek counsel and wisdom from others. Question: Do other believers in the church speak well of you concerning your ministry abilities and lifestyle?
Acts 16:1-2; Proverbs 11:14; 12:15; 13:10; 15:22
- If you have an inward desire for full-time ministry, then you should start exercising your abilities in the local church. Allow your pastor to help you develop your abilities and strive to live a life pleasing to God. If you have been called by God, then He will open doors of opportunity for you and you will see fruit as a result. God confirms His call on your life through a process, not just an overwhelming desire.
Acts 14:6, 15:41, 16:2-3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Corinthians 9:2; 16:8–10The Qualifications Of A Pastor
1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9
- Character: Any man that is going to aspire to be a pastor must be a man of godly character. The Bible says that a pastor should be “blameless.” This doesn’t mean that he is perfect, but that he is living a holy life without an area where people can accuse him of wrongdoing.
1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6, 7
- Marriage: A pastor must be “the husband of one wife.” This means that if a man is married, it should reflect God’s original intent for marriage at creation, so that his complete devotion to his wife can model a Christian marriage for the church.
1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6
- Family: A pastor leads a church like he leads his family, so his family is a good indicator of how he can lead. A man is responsible to lead his family, but he isn’t responsible for their own choices. He must properly discipline his children living in his home, so they are not accused of riotous or unruly living.
1 Timothy 3:4–5; Titus 1:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 11
- Conduct: A pastor should be: vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, patient, a lover of good men, just, holy, temperate, have a good report of them which are without; but not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, not a brawler, not covetous, not a novice or prideful, not self-willed, not soon made angry.
1 Timothy 3:2-3, 6-7; Titus 1:7-8
- Ability: A pastor must be apt to teach, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9
The Ministry Of A Pastor
- Training: A pastor’s ministry is to “perfect the saints” which means to equip them so that they can do the work of the ministry, which results in the body of Christ being edified. He teaches them through word and deed how to mature in their faith and become all that God wants them to be in Christ.
Ephesians 4:7–16; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 2 Timothy 2:2
- Shepherding: A pastor shepherds his flock through teaching and preaching the Word of God, leading them, doing the work because he wants to and not for dishonest gain, and choosing to lead the flock by his own example and not as being lords over them.
1 Peter 5:1–5
- Compensation: A pastor who rules well is worthy of a good salary from the church.
1 Corinthians 9:6–15; 1 Timothy 5:17–18; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Timothy 6:9–11
- What is the call of a pastor?
- What are the four steps to recognizing the call?
- What are the five areas of qualifications for a pastor?
- What are the three areas of ministry for a pastor?
- Should a pastor receive a compensation from the church?