Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Precepts,Priorities, and Practices of the Pastorate

We wrote last time of the priorities,precepts and practice of the local church. It is necessary then to begin with the pastor. We see in Eph. 4:11 that God gave to the church pastors and teachers. It is God that calls a man into the ministry. Much to the detriment of the cause of Christ and the power of the church we have observed over the years too many men in pulpits that will admit God never called them into the ministry. When I speak of being called I mean that urging, desirous and undeniable speaking to the heart by God. I do not mean an audible voice but the voice of the Holy Spirit. Personally God called me to preach at the age of 17. I had only been saved about a year. One evening in the middle of the night I was awakened by such a burden that I began to weep and knew not why. Being a young Christian I thought you were supposed to talk to the Lord so I began to pray (Oh that we would stay in that condition.) I slipped out of my bed at 4 am and simply asked the Lord as to why I was so burdened and distressed. He did not speak to me audibly but He might as well have as the the Lord instantly gave me the answer. He wanted me to preach and go into the ministry full time. I surrendered that morning to the call of God, walked the aisle the next Sunday and made public God called me to preach. I preached my first sermon the next Sunday and have been preaching ever since. Now if a man is called then I am puzzled at the multiplied hundreds of preachers who just quite! The Bible teaches in Romans 11:29 that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. In other words, God does not change His mind when He calls a man.
A man that is called to pastor of course must meet the qualifications outlined in the Bible. Perhaps many quit because they are not qualified. If so then I respect their character to leave the ministry. However, it is MAN that failed not God. God called and man failed. We have all heard for many years that the pastor is "Momma called and papa sent." Unfortunately that too is sometimes true. Many enter the pastorate without the call of God. He has become a hirling. Much respect and reverence for the man of God has been lost due to men in pulpits that should not be there. It is not my job to determine that in a person's life but 45 years of service and observation makes me know it is true.
We stated that a man that desires the office of pastor desires a good thing. Then certain qualifications are set forth in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. We have seen men who have become unqualified through no fault of their own. That is of course a tragedy but it does not change the facts given in the Word of God. Again many men stay in the ministry after they are disqualified for a number of reasons - money,comfort, desire of the church,etc.
There are 3 words used to denote the pastor and they are interchangeable. They are bishop, elder and pastor. Each of these terms can denote the different duties of the pastor. Biblicaly he is the overseer, ruler and shepherd. He is given the duty of overseeing the church of God. He also retains the dignity of the office as an elder. As the pastor or shepherd he shows the design of the office.
We must keep in mind that it is God that calls men into the ministry, the church that ordains them and sends them out and the Holy Spirit that places them in the position. We will expound on that and continue with the precepts, priorities and practice of the pastorate. However if we stoped now it is evident that the Lord intended the church to follow, respect and reverence the office the man of God holds.