Friday, September 23, 2011


1. Introduction to Pastoral Ministry

A. The nature of pastoral ministry

1) As suggested from the scriptures

a) From John 21:15-19

The passage reveals the basic commission to feed, nurture and buildup the flock of God. It

The apostle Paul declared, necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.. In other words, the pastor is called to teach the scriptures to the flock of God.

Warning: we must also take seriously and heed the advice of Peter when he says that not many of God’s people should teach, for they will have a greater judgment (James 3:1).

So, don’t teach/preach if you are not actually called to do so!

b) From Acts 20:26-31

This is another insightful passage pertaining to the nature of the pastoral ministry. It provides several points of advice:

* vv. 26-27 state Paul’s conviction is that he was innocent of the blood of all men because he shared the entire counsel of God with all men. Thus we must preach the entire word of God, declaring to them everything God has revealed to us!

*v. 28 reveals that the pastor/elder is an ‘overseer’ .this being one who has been given the divine ability to ‘see over’ the entire situation of the ministry he has been called to.

This person has been given the ‘spiritual eyes’ to see clearly, to discern and to guide the fellowship into God’s will. Thus he is to oversee and shepherd this valuable commodity known as, the Church!

*vv. 29-30 indicate another important aspect of the pastor’s work. He must protect the flock from enemy:

* attack that will come from out

* attack that will come from within

Thus the pastor is also a guard, a watchman and a protector of God’s flock. He must be willing to ‘stand in the gap’ and protect them; he must be willing to personally lay down his life to protect the flock.

c) From Eph. 4:7-16

This is the basic job description of the pastor in the local church. It is his job to teach/preach in such a way so as to equip the saints for the ministry!
The common approach is to hire the pastor to do’ the work’ of ministry. Thus it is his job to preach, to pray, to visit, to counsel, to administrate, to disciple, to evangelize, etc.

Thus it is his job to train others to become involved in the various ministries of the church.

He is the ‘equipper’ and they are the ‘ministers’

This passage is clear in its purpose of instruction:

The pastor is the one who is called to equip by his teaching.

The saints are to be involved in the actual work of ministry.

The result is that the body of Christ will be edified (v. 12)

The body will grow up spiritually (vv. 13-15)

The body will be perfected in love (v. 16)

d) From 1 Peter 5:1-4

The style of pastoral leadership is what is expressed in this text. There is the same call and challenge to shepherd and oversee the flock of God but the motives for doing this work must be right before God!

* and the leadership example is by servant hood and not merely authoritative!

The best example of this style of leadership model is the Lord Jesus Himself:

Don’t tell others to do what you don’t do yourself!

It becomes very easy for pastors to simply become ‘tellers’ only telling

Others, the truth, only telling others how to live, only telling others how to

Serve, etc. The pastor must maintain a real humility where we tell others.

e) From the Pastoral Epistles

Again, the theme of the pastoral is that of preaching the word of God.

Timothy is exhorted by Paul to instruct the church (1 Tim. 4:6), and

Paul alludes to the primacy of preaching in the pastoral ministry in 2

Tim. 4:1-5. Note also the following pattern:

2 Tim. 1 :14 - guard the truth committed to you

2 Tim. 2:3; 8-9 - be willing to suffer for the truth committed to you

2 Tim. 3:13-14 - continue in the truth committed to you

2 Tim. 4:1-5 - proclaim the truth committed to you

Thus the pastorals give specific instructions for pastors on how to

minister effectively in the life of the church. But note the constant

challenge to preach and teach; to exhort, instruct and command.

The proclamation of Biblical truth is what the ministry is all about!

Ministers are servants:

They are not guests, but waiters; not landlords, but labourers.

.The essential idea of the ministry is not that of a paid official or administrator, or even only of a trained teacher or expert. The minister is first and foremost, and all the time, a man of God, a servant of God to His people
1. In relation to God they are Messengers. This means that they are sent by Him and taught by Him. They are men with a message and men that possess both authority and ability. This is equivalent to the idea of Apostleship, ‘Even so I send you’.S There is the authority. And when He had said this He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost’. There is the ability.
2. In relation to the Word they are Watchmen. This is equivalent to the New Testament idea of an Evangelist They that watch for your souls’. (Heb. 13:17).

The Old Testament prophet was also a watchman (Is. 52:8; 56:10), and the work includes watching against evil and for good; sleepless vigilance on behalf of the souls for whom Christ died is the essential work of a Watchman.
3. In relation to the Church they are Stewards. This may almost be said to be equivalent to the work of the Pastor. A steward is a trusted servant. He has to give food to the household.

He must not be himself a babe in knowledge.
2) The nature of pastoral ministry in perspective
First - a pastor must be one who has a servant’s heart!

Secondly - a pastor must see the primacy of preaching!

Thirdly - a pastor must have a balanced approach to ministry!

Solid preaching! But also the necessities of leading,

visiting, counseling, disciplining, etc.

Administrator! But also one who leads by example and

can delegate ministerial tasks to others

So, the pastor is the great communicator of God’s truth to God’s

people, but he is also the Lord’s shepherd to care for the souls of

the Lord’s people!
So, concentrate on your own giftedness, and develop that to the fullest

extent possible, but also be willing to do any task that will serve the

people, advance the ministry, and glorify the Lord!

B. The call to pastoral ministry

1) The reality of the call

There are many today who think of the ‘call’ of God as something old fashioned; they see no need for such a thing in today’s modern and sophisticated world.

But I am going to suggest and defend that the ‘call’ to pastoral ministry is by far the single most important matter to the pastor!

Men do not choose to preach, they are called to preach!

Consider this important aspect in the lives and ministries of some noted

Bible examples, naming only a select few from the many:

* Moses at the burning bush and his dialogue with God (Ex. 3-4)

* Samuel while he lay’s upon his bed at night (1 Sam. 3:1-9)

* Jeremiah when he was a very young man (Jer. 1:4-8)

* Paul while he was persecuting the church of God (Acts 9)
The Bible always places great emphasis upon this special ‘call’ and presents this as the basis for the ministry that follows. And what is different in God’s operation in the modern world? There is still the reality of a divine call, without which no person should minister!

2) The necessity of the call

An appropriate question that might be asked is why is the call upon the life so important? What makes it so necessary? The answer is not profound, but it is important:

* Because no man would choose the work without a sense of call! (note; what Jesus said in this regard in John 15:16)

* Because no man would continue in the work without the call!

(note the personal examples of ministerial testimony)

(MY CALL IN 1989 last) So the call of God is absolutely necessary, for it is this single event that

initiates and ultimately sustains all genuine pastors!

3) The common reaction to the call

Reaction to God’s call in the following manner:

.Yes Lord! I am willing! Marvelous choice! I am ready!

Upon my call to the ministry, I could not mention it to anyone, not even my wife for several months!

. The person is hesitant; unsure and uncertain; doubtful and

reluctant; fearful .

Note the following examples from Scripture that seem to indicate much of the same kind of attitude:

* the reaction of Moses when called (ex. 3:10-11, 13; 4:1, 10)

* the reaction of Jeremiah when called (Jer. 1:4-8)

* the reaction of Isaiah when called (Isaiah 6:-13)

As the apostle Paul so properly observed, .WHO IS SUFFICIENT FOR

THESE THINGS?. And everyone who is called, and everyone who

responds favorably, and everyone who actually enters the work, will know

to the depth of their beings the full impact of these words upon their own

lives and ministries!

4) The testing of the call

Since the call is so vital, and our reaction is usually in this typical manner, the genuineness of the call must be tested by every potential pastor.

1. Is the call accompanied by an intense inward desire to preach?

.A call generally starts in the form of a consciousness within one’s own spirit, an awareness of a kind of pressure being brought to bear upon one’s spirit, some disturbance in the realm of the spirit, then that your mind is being directed to the whole question of preaching.

You have not thought of it deliberately, you have not sat down in cold blood to consider the possibilities, and then having looked at several have decided to take this up. It is not that. This is something that happens to you; it is God dealing with you, and God acting upon you by His Spirit; it is something you become aware of rather than what you do. It is thrust upon you, it is presented to you and almost forced upon you constantly in this way.

(4)Recognizing the primacy of preaching, the call to the pastorate is obviously going to be related to God’s prompting one to preach!

Thus there will always be the accompanying ‘burden for the word’. felt as an intense desire to communicate this precious truth!

2. Is the call accompanied by an unusual care and concern for the souls of others?

In other words, the pastor is not being called to a ‘professional’ position. The pastor is one who is marked by the ‘burden’ for souls, generally in relation to God’s people. And the burden produces the desire to do something about it!

3. Is the call accompanied by a sense of urgency to the task? Is there urgency, or personal constraint? You know that you must do this great task. You have the feeling that you can do nothing else. Spurgeon always told his students, ‘If you can do anything else do it’. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry. I agree whole-heartedly! The man who is really called will not be able to do anything else with his life.

4. Is the call accompanied by a personal willingness to make the necessary sacrifice and dedication demanded? The one who is called to preach, and answers that call, must give up

his entire life for the service to His Lord. There can be no misunderstanding at this point. Going into the ministry will not cost you something; it will not cost dearly; it will cost you your life and everything in it! Are you willing to abandon your life to God’s service, expecting nothing in return for your efforts?

5) The confirmation of the call

Once you have tested the call personally, and are assured that it is genuinely of God, then the call upon your life must be confirmed in a variety of ways.

1. Personal circumstances will begin to indicate and confirm that God is indeed calling you to pastoral ministry. There will be open doors, special circumstances that indicate God’s own

confirmation (e.g. acceptance to Bible College, etc.)

2. Then the body at large will begin to confirm the reality of your calling. They will see the

giftedness, the anointing, the preparatory work of God within your life, etc. I believe that the body will always confirm our gifts and callings!

3. Then there should be some measure of God’s blessing as you respond to God’s call. If God has called, and now leads the obedient servant into His will, there will be some manner of divine blessing that is obvious to you and others.

6) The confirmation of the call

You do not choose God, but rather God makes a choice for you!

That is the selection of you personally, to serve Him in the proclamation of the Gospel!

Not that you might gain fame, or respect, or honor, or prestige, or wealth, or glory, or

Anything at all!

But that God might be glorified and His word advanced!

* this is the highest privilege possible for a human being!

* this is the greatest honor in the world!


* this is the most awesome position in the world!

* this is the most sacred task in the world!
By all means enter the ministry if indeed God is calling you to do so!

And be ready for the greatest adventure in all of life!

But for God’s sake, and for the sake of the church, and for the sake of

yourself and your family, stay out of the ministry if you are not called

to be there, or at least until you are certain that you are!

C. The nature of pastoral ministry

1) His qualifications

A true minister must have certain principles, motives, feelings, and aims.

They must be given from above, or they cannot be received.

a) The personal qualifications

The personal qualifications of the minister must be stressed for many

First, because the work of ministry has absolutely unbelievable

demands; we might even say unbearable demands at times.

Second, because the work of the ministry is sacred and the standards are extremely high; it is God Himself who sets the standards. Therefore, the Bible establishes very specific qualifications and requirements for the man who would seek that office (e.g. see Acts 6:3-4; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). This is certainly appropriate, for the pastorate is indeed the highest office in the church. In addition, it must be remembered that the pastor, since he fills the highest office in the church, must also be qualified for any lesser office. In other words, he must meet all general spiritual qualifications, all deacon qualifications, as well as all elder qualifications.
This is the issue of trustworthiness. Are you trustworthy? Can God trust you in His work? You answer of ‘yes’ must be demonstrated by corresponding actions and lifestyle. Therefore, have you proven yourself to be faithful in the little things thus far? Have you proven yourself to be a good steward over the things God has entrusted you? See Matthew 7:22 concerning proper motives in serving God, and Matthew 25:14-30 regarding proper use of what He has entrusted to us.


* the problem of fleshiness

This problem will definitely disqualify even the most gifted from serving as a pastor. This is a

Reference to ‘fleshiness’ in two important areas. First, in relation to the minister’s personal conduct. Second, in relation to the minister’s way of conducting his ministry.

* the problem of foolishness

This is in reference to a variety of things. For example, to display foolishness in personal

decisions, foolishness in one’s priorities, foolishness in the neglect of duties, etc. will quickly disqualify one from pastoral ministry. All of our sin and poor decisions will certainly be forgiven, but there are always consequences to our decisions and actions. This is even more the case in ministry because all we do affects so many other people. Saul is an example of one who played

the fool and lost it all (1 Sam. 26:21).

* the problem of fear

This is another problem that will ruin a person’s ministry. By fear I mean the ‘fear of man’.

The pastor is one who must ‘fear God’ and be willing to stand alone if necessary knowing that

a stand for the truth will always be honored by God.

The fear of man and the pressure of elders, the congregation or even general public opinion must be overcome or the pastor and his ministry will lose divine anointing and

(Judges 7:3).
2) His spirituality

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock. (Acts 20:28)

Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you (1 Tim. 4:16). Therefore if anyone cleanses himself, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2

Tim. 2:21)

a) The important characteristics of spirituality

* Spirit controlled (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:25; Rom. 8:14)

We are either flesh-controlled or Spirit-controlled. Every pastor must seek to be continually controlled by the Holy Spirit.
* Personal holiness (Rom. 6:1-14; 8:12-13; 12:1-21; Eph. 4:1-3)

Personal holiness to the Lord should be the pastor’s greatest ambition. He must renounce sin continually and be a model of holiness to his people.

* Devotional life (Psalm 42:1-2; 62:1-5; 63:1.

that becomes very easy to neglect. He must discipline himself in his devotional life

* Prayer life (Jer. 29:12-13; 1 Sam. 12:23; Luke 11:5-10; Eph. 6:10-18)

The pastor’s personal prayer life is extremely important. Since the work of ministry is a work of faith, prayer is essential. He must become a person of prayer for himself, his ministry, his people.

* Family life (Eph. 5:18-6:4; Col. 3:18-21; 1 Tim. 3:4-5)

The pastor’s family must be considered a priority, in spite of the pressure to neglect them. Many pastors lose their family to the ministry. Remember that you need to minister to them as well.

* Spiritual anointing (Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:8; 4: 31- 32; 1 Cor. 12:1-11)

Spiritual anointing is difficult to define, but it is the most essential ingredient to effective ministry. A pastor must have the anointing of God upon his life.

To yourself and to your ministry. This is no mere natural occupation, but a great spiritual work that necessitates the pastor being a vessel fit for the Master’s use.

3) His preparation
a) The apparent necessity of preparation

The Bible contains many specific examples of God training the men he calls to ministry.

Note the following examples.

* the example of Moses who spent 40 years under God’s training in the desert of Midian

* the example of Jesus Himself who spent approximately thirty years in general training prior to His anointing at the Jordan

* the example of the 12 disciples who spent approximately 3 1/2 years in training under the Lord Jesus Himself

* the example of the Apostle Paul who spent three years in the desert of Arabia being personally trained by God.

Thus we conclude that the Biblical norm seems to be that training for ministry is essential. When we consider the nature of the work of ministry it is not surprising that this is the case. For God must do a unique work, and deep work, in order to prepare His servants for faithful and effective ministry. And it can only be accomplished by God Himself, and it will continue to some extent throughout the life of the minister!

b) The nature of pastoral preparation

Every person considering the ministry needs to be trained for the work, and every person in the ministry needs to continue being trained for the work. This training may be divided into three major categories:
* the need for general training

This is training from the secular world and is essential for general human growth and

development, and is certainly necessary for the pastor. This would include general education in the sciences, history, the arts, philosophy, logic, speech, etc.
Moses was trained to the maximum in the schools of Egypt!

Paul was trained extensively in Greek culture as well as Hebrew!
* the need for general spiritual training

This is the general spiritual training and equipping that comes with Christian maturity and growth. No person will be able to pastor effectively who is stunted in their own spiritual growth and development. And this is an area where there must be much continual progress throughout one’s entire life!
* the need for specific Bible training from the Christian community

This is the training that only the church can supply, and is most often accomplished in a Bible College and Seminary setting. This includes training in Bible, theology, apologetics, church history, original languages, hermeneutics, etc. Every pastor must become a diligent student. Learn to read and study well (beyond your weekly sermon preparation). I recommend approximately one book per week!

D. The position of the pastor

1) The role of pastoral leadership
a) Elder

The pastor is considered to be one of the elders of the church. The position of elder demands a spiritual maturity in terms of character and experience. Thus one holding this office must be
somewhat older in the Lord. The pastor is one of several elders that give spiritual direction

to the body of Christ. Note the following important characteristics:

* the elder must know the Bible sufficiently to be able to teach it

* the elders probably should be appointed by the existing elder body

* the elder group should be headed by the pastor

* the specific qualifications are outlined in 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
b) Overseer (episkopos)

This is another word which describes the position and duties of the pastor. This describes him as an ‘overseer’ thus providing oversight or watching over the flock of God. This also carries the idea of a stewardship or caretaker over the property of another. Thus the pastor is to watch over, guard, manage and protect the church. This is his unique responsibility and God will provide the divine enablement to accomplish the task.

c) Pastor (poimen)

This is a word which literally mean, ‘one who tends or herds flocks’. The best word would be shepherd. The idea associated with the term is that of nurturing the church of God. This nurturing or feeding is accomplished through the teaching of the word of God, whereby the believer is personally edified and equipped for the work of ministry. This begins the distinction between the common elder and the pastor-elder in the church.

d) Authority (ekousia)

The pastor must function as an authority in the local church. This authority is God-given, whereby God gives him the right to exercise rule and governmental power. In this manner, the pastor exercises a delegated authority,that is unique to his position and is similar in nature to the God-given authority of other Biblical offices. For example, the divine authority is delegated through a kingly authority; or through the prophetic office; or through priestly authority; or through apostolic authority; or through pastoral authority. And it is always stated explicitly, or strongly implied, that the rule of the authority must be obeyed by those under the authority (see Romans13:1-7 for similar principle described). On the other hand, the Bible also emphatically states and describes how the one in authority must exercise self-control and Godly wisdom in the exercise of their authority.

e) Submission (hupotasso)

This is basically the attitude of a voluntary humility. It literally means to willingly subject oneself. The body must be willing to subject itself to pastoral (elder) authority, remembering that it is a delegated authority (see 1 Peter 5:5; Hebrews 13:7,17: 2 Thess. 3:14; etc.). If all Christians are to submit to all governmental authority (whether it is Christian or not; whether it is good or bad, etc.) then it surely stands to reason that there should be no question regarding their submission to the spiritual authority that is looking out for their souls. This also carries the idea of the pastor being willing to ‘subject Himself’ to others, even though he is in the position of authority. This

would surely include a subjection to his staff, elders and other leadership, wife and family and the general congregation. The wise pastor will listen to the advice and counsel of others, for they will bring a unique perspective to every situation that the pastor would not otherwise be aware of, nor be able to adequately deal with on his own!
2) Pastoral leadership and the elders

There is much discussion today regarding the exact role of pastoral leadership in the church.
.The Biblical norm for church leadership is a plurality of God-ordained elders. Furthermore, it is the only pattern for church leadership given in the New Testament. Nowhere in Scripture do we

find a local assembly ruled by majority opinion, or by one pastor.
* the Bible does teach a plurality of elders functioning together in the leadership of each local church (e.g. Acts 20:17-38; 1 Peter 5:1-4; etc.). But this is simply a description of there being several elders who work together as team members to accomplish their specific task of ministry. Thus there should be multiple elders serving in the church.

* the Bible also teaches the idea of a strong singular pastoral leadership for each local church (e.g. the .bishop. or .overseer. is always referred to in the singular; the pattern of God’s government appears to always be related to a single authority).

* thus the pastor seems to be in the unique position of being the final human authority in the church, but at the same time as one who is to function as a team member with the multiple elders of the church.
3) Pastoral leadership and the congregation

The pastor is the authority in the local church, meaning that the members of the congregation are to be in submission to pastoral authority. ‘The elders are to rule over the congregation) not the pastor, and the pastor is to lead the elders.

But at the same time, the pastor (and elders) is called to be a servant to the people of God. He must do both! And he must do it in such a way that the delegated authority is expressed, but not in such a way that he lords it over the people (see Luke 22:24-30). It is this tension that makes pastoral ministry so difficult, but the pastor must not negate either position in favour of the other! The model for this is the Lord Himself, and the place to learn it is in the family unit!