Posts Tagged ‘Pastor’












There are two biblical offices in the local church (Pastor and Deacon), both of which are chosen by the congregation.  Scripture uses the term pastor, elder, overseer, and bishop interchangeably to refer to one position (c.f. Pilippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5).  These four terms indicate various features of leadership ministry, not varying levels of authority or separate offices.  The pastor (along with the servicing leadership of the deacons) provides spiritual and theological leadership in order to equip and build up the church.  As spiritual shepherds of the local church, pastors serve in developing (not dictating) church policy along with congregational input and affirmation (c.f. Acts 15:1-29); oversee the church (Acts 20:28); rule, teach, and preach (1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12); exhort and refute (Titus 1:9); and set the example as to what it means to shepherd the church (1 Peter 5:1-3).  The pastor provides spiritual oversight, theological direction and leadership, and is held accountable by the Elder Board, the church congregation in general and, ultimately, God Himself.

The apostle Paul wrote in his epistle to the Ephesians that Christ gave gifts to the church, one of which is gifted men—specifically pastors.  Paul wrote, “And He Himself gave…some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:12).  In Acts 20:17-38, the apostle Paul met with the elders from Ephesus and instructed them, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (vs.28).  The apostle Peter wrote, “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Pastors are men (not women) who provide spiritual leadership and theological guidance to the assembly of believers.  One of the primary means in which pastors do this is to preach and teach the Bible.  Through their pastoral ministry, elders serve God and the flock not as CEO’s but as shepherds, doing so following the example of the Chief Shepherd.  It is the function and responsibility of the local church congregation to receive this pastoral service/leadership as from God and to submit to those who lead the church as pastors/elders/overseers.  For example, after exhorting elders to shepherd the flock among them, Peter then wrote, “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders” (1 Peter 5:5).  Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).  The writer to the Hebrews wrote, “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” (Hebrews 13:7).  The writer then further exhorted the church to “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.  Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).

The main passages outlining the qualifications of a pastor/elder/overseer/bishop are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9; both of which are nearly identical lists.  The qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (NKJV) entail the following:

1)   “any man” – A pastor is to be a man, not a woman (“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2:11-12).

2)  “desires the position” – Two different Greek words are used to refer to this desire/aspire attitude  (the second word is found in #3 below).  This first Greek word for “desires” refers to external action and involves pursuing tangible things in order to be found qualified for this office.

3)   “desires a good work” – This second Greek word for “desires” refers to the inward motivation/desire a man must have in order to be qualified for this office.  He must internally desire the office and not merely be nominated by others for the office.

4)  “must be blameless” – The words “must be” are included, stressing the fact that what follows is absolutely necessary.  Being “blameless” (“above reproach”) literally means “not to be held” in a criminal sense.  This is the most important character qualification for the pastor, and the list of qualifications that follow elaborates on what it means to be “blameless.”  There is to be no unrepentant sin that can be publicly named or pointed to in which the church or civil community is aware of.  It doesn’t mean he is sinless or has never sinned, but that he can’t be held in contempt, either criminally, morally, socially, or ethically.

5)  “husband of one wife” – This literally means to be a “one-woman man”.  It’s not referring to his marital status but to his sexual purity.  It doesn’t mean he can never have been widowed or be single, for example, but that he is to be solely devoted to one woman if (and while) married.  This qualification comes immediately after the necessity of being “blameless” because the area of sexual purity is where many church leaders fail and, thus, become disqualified to serve as pastors.

6)  “temperate” – Literally means to be “wineless,” but is here being used metaphorically and means to be “alert” or “watchful” or “clear-headed.”  The pastor needs to have a “good head” on his shoulders and be watchful for things that might creep into his congregation, such as sexual sin, heresy, or false teachers.

7)  “sober-minded” – He is to be a serious man who knows how to order his priorities.

8)  “of good behavior” – Means to be “orderly”…as opposed to being chaotic or disorganized.

9)  “hospitable” – Means to have a “love of strangers.”  The pastor must set the example about how to be open and available for others, always being ready to be social and receptive of Christians and non-Christians alike.

10)  “able to teach” – The only qualification referring to the pastor’s spiritual giftedness/ability, and the only one that distinguishes the office of pastor from that of deacon.  Preaching and teaching God’s Holy Word is the primary responsibility of the pastor in the local church.

11)  “not given to wine” – Not a regular drinker of alcohol.  The pastor must never consume alcohol because he could be called on at any time of the day or night to perform his duties and, therefore, his judgment must never be clouded by alcohol.

12)  “not violent” – Literally, “not a giver of blows.”  A pastor is to be a humble, patient man who is calm and gentle and doesn’t react with physical violence.

13)   “not greedy for money” – He is not in the ministry to make money, and earning money is not his motivation for ministry or service.  The stress is on not being “greedy,” so the pastor is not to be concerned about money since the Lord will take care of his daily needs.

14)  “gentle” – Means to be gracious, quick to forgive; does not hold a grudge.

15)  “not quarrelsome” – Seeks for peace; reluctant to fight or argue.

16)  “not covetous” – The pastor’s desire is to be for the love of God and His people, not for the love of money, possessions or position.  A covetous man demonstrates a lifestyle/attitude that is not blameless.

17)  “one who rules his own house well” – The pastor’s home life (as well as his personal life) must be well-ordered, not chaotic.  This refers to his relationship with his wife, any children, and all things connected with his home life.  A divorced man shows no sign of ruling his own home well and, therefore, would not qualify to be a pastor.

18)  “having his children in submission with all reverence” – A pastor must have the respect of his children and they must be well-behaved.  This does not mean that a man must have children in order to be a pastor, but if he does have any children then they must be submissive to him and his authority over them.

19)   “not a novice” – Not a new convert.  A newly converted Christian is not mature in the faith and his spiritual leadership would be inadequate, resulting in a prideful, destructive ministry.  Pastors are to be spiritually mature, possessing a solid understanding and right application of the Scriptures.

20)  “must have a good testimony among those who are outside” – A pastor must have a good reputation with the surrounding community he lives and ministers in, particularly when it comes to unbelievers.  Although non-Christians may disagree with his morals or spiritual beliefs, he must be respected as an honest, caring person (good testimony).


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I know that the title of this blog caught a lot of people’s eyes. Everyone wants and needs to know how to solve the issues they’re facing, so here it is….prayer. Yip, it’s that simple.

Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray.James 5:13

As James writes, from his pastor‘s heart, to the people of God, his entire letter is full of practical instruction and direct admonition. He does not have a flowery style or a theoretical bent; he is interested only in getting clear, candid counsel into the hands and hearts of believers.

And when he comes to the matter of affliction — gut-wrenching, spirit-pounding, heart-crushing affliction — this practical pastor gives his guidance in only three words: let him pray.

“Is that it?” we might ask. What about formulating an exit strategy? What about checking all our options for circumventing the pain? What about gathering a support group to cheer us up and cheer us on? The greatest therapy, the surest solution, the sweetest healing that we will find, James says, is in fervent and honest and faith-full conversation with God.

James is not suggesting a momentary, fleeting mention of our trial — perhaps in the middle of blessing our breakfast food — as the answer to affliction. The verb he uses is in the present tense: let him, in other words, continually be praying.

Perhaps you know what it is like to be so pressed by a sorrow or pain or trial that you pray, not only as you breath, but in order to be able to keep on breathing. There are times when God’s people truly find Him their only source of strength, of life, of purpose, and of joy. They pray, not because they have to, but because they can’t not pray.

Whether your affliction is earth-shattering or hardly-worth-mentioning, take your trial to God in prayer. And out of the fountain of close communion with your Father, will flow the calming, refreshing, restoring waters of spiritual renewal.

laughing pastorWhen you preach for a living, mistakes are bound to be made. Sometimes it’s a sermon idea. It looks good on paper but when it passes from paper to preaching something get’s twisted. Or perhaps it’s an illustration that you think is going to work really well but it crashes at takeoff. Or maybe it’s a gaffe you made that you wish you could retract.

With this as a backdrop here is a list of sermon goofs, gaffes and illustrations that I have actually done/said/used in my preaching over the last twenty five years or so…

1. Gaffe: “We all make mistakes. We all have cracks in our armor. Pastor Rick and I have seen each other’s cracks.”

2. Illustration: Literally saying “he had one foot in the grave” at a funeral.

3. Goof: Preaching a sermon with a large price tag (that I had forgotten to remove) dangling from the left arm of my “new” suit (which I had gotten from Goodwill.)

4. Illustration: Eating a piece of hard, butterscotch candy in front of 5,000 teens while trying to make some spiritual point. I kept trying to preach while crunching the candy but my teeth were getting stuck together. Finally I just stopped and took the time to eat the whole thing and swallow it. It was 60 seconds of pure awkward.

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5. Gaffe: “He had two huge tumors the size of grape nuts” (as opposed to grapefruits.)

6. Goof: On a preaching tour in India I was on stage facing the audience getting ready to preach my sermon. My interpreter told me at one point in the service, “As a guest speaker it would be good for the people to see you give in the offering.” When the priest walked out onto the other side of the large stage with a huge bowl I figured this was my cue. Getting up, I walked across the stage and dropped in a five spot. The priest smiled and nodded nervously. I walked back across the stage with everyone watching me. After sitting down my interpreter whispered in my ear, “Pastor Stier that was very good…but that was not the offering plate.”

7. Illustration: About 18 years ago I wanted to make a point to 75 teens at an event that God has given us spiritual weapons to overcome the “monsters” of fear that keep us from sharing our faith. A youth leader friend loaned me a fake gun that supposedly shot blanks. At a point in the sermon I had cued some guys dressed up in scary costumes (representing the monsters of fear) to come rushing in screaming. It was then I held up the “gospel gun” and shot in their direction. It didn’t shoot blanks after all. It was some sort of riot dispersement gun that sprayed the crowd with a cloud of mace or pepper spray or something bad. Not only that, but it backfired in my face and I immediately began to cough and wheeze…along with the rest of the audience. Suffice it to say we took a break as everyone rushed outside for air. Thank the Lord nobody got hurt (or sued!)

8. Goof: While being interviewed on a live Christian television show (that leaned Pentecostal) I was looking directly in the camera telling the story of a girl who trusted in Jesus at a Dare 2 Share conference. I saw a hand go up out of the corner of my right eye. It was the left hand of the well dressed older preacher who was interviewing me. Since he was sitting right next to me on the couch I assumed he was holding up his hand for a high five, so I turned and gave a hearty slap to his uplifted hand. It was then I realized that, as I was telling the story, he was lifting his hands up in praise to God. I suddenly realized that I had high-fived his praise hand…on live television. Everyone in the room was stunned and silent, except for the cameraman who was laughing so hard the camera was shaking.

9. Illustration: Trying to eat the guts of a bad cantaloupe while making the point that “it’s what on the inside that counts” or something like that. Oh yeah, it was in front of thousands of teenagers at a Dare 2 Share conference too. If I remember right I tried to clean off my tongue right after that with some kind of sanitized hand wipe which numbed my tongue and lips.

10. Gaffe: “Let everything that has breasts praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.”

Actually I’ve had a few worse gaffes, goofs and sermon illustrations…but some things are not fit for print.

By Greg Stier , Christian Post Guest Columnist
May 22, 2013|4:58 pm

jesus calledOK, I’ve never heard of this one, but please read the story of a Pastor who asked his Church members to either become more active, or to leave the Church. What do you think of the story below?


WINSTON-SALEM — Julie and Bob Clark were stunned to receive a letter from their church in July asking them to “participate in the life of the church” — or worship elsewhere.

“They basically called us freeloaders,” says Julie.

“We were freeloaders,” says Bob.

In a trend that may signal rough times for wallflower Christians, bellwether mega-church Faith Community of Winston-Salem has asked “non-participating members” to stop attending.

“No more Mr. Nice Church,” says the executive pastor, newly hired from Cingular Wireless. “Bigger is not always better. Providing free services indefinitely to complacent Christians is not our mission.”

“Freeloading” Christians were straining the church’s nursery and facility resources and harming the church’s ability to reach the lost, says the pastor.

“When your bottom line is saving souls, you get impatient with people who interfere with that goal,” he says.

Faith Community sent polite but firm letters to families who attend church services and “freebie events” but never volunteer, never tithe and do not belong to a small group or other ministry. The church estimates that of its 8,000 regular attendees, only half have volunteered in the past 3 years, and a third have never given to the church.

“Before now, we made people feel comfortable and welcome, and tried to coax them to give a little something in return,” says a staff member. “That’s changed. We’re done being the community nanny.”

Surprisingly, the move to dis-invite people has drawn positive response from men in the community who like the idea of an in-your-face church.

“I thought, ‘A church that doesn’t allow wussies — that rocks,’” says Bob Clark, who admires the church more since they told him to get lost.

He and Julie are now tithing and volunteering. “We’ve taken our place in church life,” he says. •

dead churchA new Pastor in a small Oklahoma town spent the first four days making personal visits to each of the members, inviting them to come to his first services.

The following Sunday the church was all but empty. Accordingly, the Pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone’s duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon, the notice said.

Morbidly curious, a large crowd turned out for the “funeral.” In front of the pulpit, they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers. After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church.

Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a “dead church,” all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each “mourner” peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look.

In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.

How Does your reflection look?


Acts 20:28 (#1 of 10 Bible Verses about the Church, the Body of Christ)
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Romans 12:3-5
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God- 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Ephesians 1:18-23
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Ephesians 5:25-32 (#5 of 10 Bible Verses about the Church, the Body of Christ)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church.

Colossians 1:17-20
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 3:14-16
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

1 Peter 2:9-10
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (#10 of 10 Bible Verses about the Church, the Body of Christ)
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.