Is Your Pastor Qualified – Part 2

“It would have been a fearful thing for me to have occupied the watchman’s place without having received the watchman’s commission.”- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

If you read part one of this series then you know that right out the gate, God lists some strong qualifications for anyone who would seek to be an overseer of the church. First, that they would be above reproach or in other words that no one can say anything against their character, and, that they be the husband of one wife. This implies that they be a man who is married to only woman, possibly only one woman in his lifetime and that adultery was a disqualification for a sitting overseer. Now, let us continue through the rest of verse 2.

Sober-minded and Self-controlled can be dealt with together. To be “sober-minded” means to serious and sensible. To be self-controlled means that you can manage your emotions, desires, and behaviors, especially in difficult situations. An overseer isn’t silly and doesn’t make light of critical situations. Likewise, they aren’t so high strung that they can’t function in those critical situations. They have the sensibility to focus and do what they have set out to do. They manage this by controlling their impulses. How many of today’s pastor’s sermons sound like open mic night at the Improv?

In the middle of their pathetic attempts to shoehorn the scriptures into a movie plot, they even more desperately cram lame dad jokes and silly humor and I think it’s because even they are bored of the word of God. An overseer who cannot be serious enough to take the time allotted on the Lord’s Day to nourish the souls of the desperate, dry, and spiritually depleted that darken their doorway, but instead take that time to stroke their egos and say nothing for an hour are not sober-minded nor self-controlled. This is a problem that ought to be addressed when assessing a prospective call.

Is your pastor respectable? For most who are already holding the position this answer is probably “yes” unless he’s already disqualified by the qualifications above. This is more a question for pastoral candidates but still worth considering. What about this young man says, “He would make an excellent overseer of a church!” You could ask this of any prospective candidate really. What are his achievements? What are his skills? What do people think of him? When I’m around him, what do I think of him? How does he carry himself? This might be a bit subjective and more of a judgment call, but do you respect your pastor? Why or why not?

Is your pastor hospitable? God expects his overseers to excel in hospitality. People should feel welcome when they come to worship, when they see the pastor and his family in town, when they come to his home to visit, when he and his family come to their home to visit, etc. A cold pastor/pastoral family is not good for a church. More importantly than this, how is he with strangers? Hospitality has much more to do with the way one treats people they don’t know than people they know and are comfortable with.

That doesn’t mean that an introvert can’t be a pastor/pastor’s wife, as being less outgoing is not the same as being cold and prickly. A lot of bookish, studious people are introverts, but a warm smile goes a long way in making people feel welcome.
And finally, is your pastor able to teach? I don’t mean, can he stand in front of an audience and speak for 30-60mins, I mean can he teach and teach biblical truth with clarity?

Thanks to podcasts, it is possible to listen to sermons from hundreds of thousands of churches around the world. There are preachers preaching everywhere and that is something to celebrate! What isn’t so wonderful though is the amount of absurdity, nonsense and downright heresy that is available for download all around the world. If your pastor was teaching something that is not counter-biblical, would you know? Would your pastor know if they were teaching something that was counter-biblical?

Would they be open to discussion on matters of theology and doctrine if a member of the congregation had concerns? Does your pastor strive to learn more thoroughly so that he can teach more clearly, or has he settled with the knowledge he has, assuming he has nothing more to learn past his formal or sometimes informal education? To distill this qualification, it’s not enough for the overseer to be smart on matters of doctrine. It’s not enough for him to charismatic and fun to listen to either if what he’s saying is foolishness. The overseer must be able to relate the truths of God’s holy word with clarity and accuracy as the preaching and teaching of God’s word is a grace to us for the salvation and preservation of our souls. An overseer who is not able to teach is a detriment to the church.

This list of 7 qualities that an overseer must have was shot-gunned into the first two verses of this passage of scripture, but The Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to list 7 more. Please join me in Part 3 as we continue to examine what makes a church overseer the right man for the job.

Rob Porter is a contributor for The Daily Brief and host of Project World View a podcast that gives a philosophical and religious view to complex issues in a easy to digest format in bite size increments. It can be heard of spotify, apple podcasts, or wherever you listen. Click the image below to follow him on Facebook

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