Summary: A sermon examining what God expects from an elder.
Biblical Expectations Of An Elder
Thom Rainer president of LifeWay Christian stores recently asked a few hundred laypersons to write down what they desired of a pastor. He shares some of the top responses that he received: People desire a Pastor who possessed love of congregation, they want a man who was an effective preacher, a man with strong character and a good work ethic, someone who casts a vision and demonstrates healthy leadership. They desire a leader who is joyous and transparent, also someone who does not yield to critics and finally people said that they want a pastor who models evangelism. (source:http://thomrainer.com/2013/01/ten-things-church-members-desire-in-a-pastor/)
I would not disagree with any of those responses. However there are some church members who have unrealistic expectations of their pastor. Rainer did another survey of deacons and asked what they expected from their pastor. In order to meet the minimum expectations of those deacons a pastor would have to fulfill the following responsibilities each week:
- Prayer at the church: 14 hours
- Sermon preparation: 18 hours
- Outreach and evangelism: 10 hours
- Counseling: 10 hours
- Hospital and home visits: 15 hours
- Administrative functions: 18 hours
- Community involvement: 5 hours
- Denominational involvement: 5 hours
- Church meetings: 5 hours
- Worship services/preaching: 4 hours
- Other: 10 hours
That is a total of 114 hours/week. This would require a pastor to work more than 16 hours a day for seven days a week. There are many different expectations that people have of their church leaders. But more important than pleasing the church members, the pastor should seek to please the Lord. God has outlined what He expects from a Pastor in the Bible. Our selected text is one of the most descriptive passages in the scriptures concerning the pastor's job description. I would like to walk through these verses and examine the "Biblical Expectations Of An Elder".
Here in Titus, Paul uses the terms Elder & Bishop. There are 3 terms used interchangeably in scripture to refer to the same office...Elder (presbuteros) Bishop (episkopos) Pastor (poiman). When you read the qualifications set forth in scripture, God emphasizes the importance of personal character and theological competency.
With that being said let's see what God expects from those who He has called to shepherd the flock. In verse 5 Paul charges Titus with the task of setting things in order. One of his responsibilities was to ordain elders in each city. Paul goes into detail describing the qualities and requirements of those elders. This sets up a contrast concerning those "unruly, vain talkers and deceivers" that are described in verses 10-16. When you look at the qualifications of an elder it is clear that faithfulness is paramount.
- In these 5 verses there are 5 areas in which a pastor must be found faithful. Look with me to verse 5 as we see that:
I. An Elder Must Be Faithful To The Church - v5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Paul tells Titus that he left him in Crete to "set things in order". Obviously there were some problems in the church that needed to be addressed. There were some things that we lacking. There was a need for elders. The church needed godly leadership and it is clear that Paul felt Titus was the right man for the job. He could have sent Timothy to Crete, but perhaps he did not have the proper skill set for the task at hand. Paul felt that Titus was the right man for the job and he entrusted him to find the right men for the position of elder.
The church today needs some pastors who are faithful to the calling that God has placed on their lives. A pastor is a shepherd who is entrusted with the responsibility of caring for God's people. Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
The number one responsibility of a Pastor is to "equip the saints for the work of the ministry". A literal shepherd is one who leads, feeds and protects the flock of sheep. The Bible uses the word "shepherd" as a figurative term for a pastor. A pastor is to pray, prepare, preach and to protect the flock that is under his care. Consider what Peter said to the Elders in - 1 Peter 5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.