The Qualifications of a Pastor

There are many persons that may have a desire to be a pastor or church leader. We must always remember that, with those who desire such a position, there are requirements presented from God’s Word that need to be fulfilled (1 Timothy 3:1-7). For example, a pastor must exercise discipline and self-control in several areas, including the use of adult beverages and in controlling anger (v. 3, Proverbs 20:1, 23:30-35, 31:4-7). In the area of ministry, it is even better for the pastor to avoid drinking altogether as he will likely minister to alcoholics or to persons who are in different stages of weakness. The pastor often has to set the example of leadership through restraint from even things that are deemed acceptable. “‘Everything is permissable,’ but not everything is helpful. ‘Everything is permissable,’ but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).” The pastor must always hold up the Word of God and be ready for any occasion or situation. He must be “gentle, not quarrelsome (v. 3),” not contentious or deceptive with the use of flamboyant speech.

A pastor must respond to the flock of his church even when some of the members are harsh with him (1 Peter 2:18), in much the same way as Jesus Christ was gentle and gracious and yet still stand for righteousness (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). A pastor must be patient in dealing with his church members and its accompanying responsibilities.

A pastor should never be difficult to get along with, or quarrelsome. Some will say negative things about a pastor, but rather than challenge those statements with an argument (James 4:1-3), his actions will speak for themselves (Matthew 11:18-19). A pastor has to be mature and “wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:14).” He must always remain in God’s will in everything that he does (Acts 5:38; Romans 14:23).

A pastor should not be a lover of money. He should be able to handle his finances well (Luke 16:13-16), and also manage his own family well. There should be respect for the pastor and his position from his family members as the pastor leads and respects his family (1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:7). The wife and children of the pastor should be of good character and behavior and are not be unruly or disrespectful to him (Leviticus 21:9; 1 Samuel 2:12, 22-25). “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5).

The pastor has a tremendous responsibility to lead a church and the requirements are not to be taken lightly or ignored. He must be called by God and appointed by the people (and not of himself), and he is to serve in the position with humiity and faithfulness. The qualifications of a pastor are clear and require our utmost attention when we select leaders for our churches. “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much (Luke 16:10).”

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