Summary: A look at two of the sections in 1 Timothy that deal with the pastoral role.
- First, let me say up front that this is not going to be an exciting sermon. I say that because the subject is one that is not particularly pressing. It is important, but most prefer sermons that focus on your personal walk with the Lord. This message deals with a corporate concern.
- Secondly, this is not an issue that our church is dealing with (unless there’s a Deacons’ Meeting scheduled for later tonight that I don’t know about). Of course, every church has to deal with this at various points in their lives, but that’s not where we’re at right now.
- This is important, though, because the leadership of the church is a core issue. A church is rarely going to advance beyond the pastoral leadership that it has.
Hiring A New Pastor: Often, the standards used by churches in hiring pastors have more to do with the personnel department than Biblical standards.
- We all know the basics of how companies hire people. Figure out what you want, compile a bunch of resumes, and then find the most qualified person.
- Churches often make the hiring of a new pastor essentially the same process: it’s long on what the church and short on what the Bible says.
- This is also seen when churches pick deacons (or whatever the leadership is called in various churches). Rarely do churches look carefully and prayerfully over the Biblical qualifications to discern who meets the standard. More likely the questions in mind are “who can we can get?” and “who would be easy to work with?”
- There are specific instructions on who is qualified to be a pastor.
HOW TO CHOOSE A PASTOR:
- When we were in chapter 3 earlier in this series, I dealt with the passage focusing on various forms of church governance. I want to go back there and unpack it regarding choosing a pastor.
1. A pastor doesn’t need to have a special “call.”
- In Baptist life, there is the presumption that anyone who is a pastor has to have a special call from God to be a pastor. In my own life, that did happen to me – I very strongly felt pressure from God to become a pastor instead of pursuing my chosen field of law. The fact, though, that my experience looked like that does not mean that everyone’s experience has to look like that.
- This passage makes it clear that’s being a pastoral leader is something that a person can essentially volunteer for.
- The most famous example I know of this in contemporary Christian life is Andy Stanley. Andy is the pastor of the North Point Church in Georgia; he is also the son of Charles Stanley. He talks about asking his father if he could sign up to be a pastor even though he didn’t feel a special call. His father affirmed that he could.
2. Focus more on the character of the person than the role of the pastor.
- When most churches pursue a new pastor, the things they focus on are almost exclusively centered on the role of pastor. “How would you grow the church?” “What’s your preaching style?” “How do you handle conflict?” “Are you evangelistic?”
- Relatively little questioning or investigation happens on issues of character.
- Verses 2-3 focus on these character issues.
- This reminds me of one of my main thoughts when it comes to voting. Some people focus exclusively on ideology when they choose a candidate. Obviously, ideology is important, but before I get to ideology I first look at character and competence. You want someone who is morally solid as well as smart enough to handle the complexities that inevitably happen. A person who checks the right box on hot-button issues may not have the character to handle the pressures of money in politics. A person who echoes my sentiments on the party platform may not have the basic competence to know how to implement solid solutions.
- A similar dynamic is in play when it comes to the hiring of a pastor (although hopefully you don’t have to do that as often as you have to vote). It’s great that they sound just like you when they describe their belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. It’s exciting that their priority for evangelism echoes your heart. But what about their character? What about their competence?
- Do pulpit committees make even token gestures toward finding out this information or do they only rely on what’s on the resume and what the candidate says?
3. Look at other areas of his life.
- This passage specifically mentions a pastor needing to manage his family well.