It’s Pastor’s Appreciation Month so I thought I should write something about it before the month ends. I also thought it would be good to ask a handful of my friends what a biblical pastor is so I sent them messages and my question went like this:
What is a biblical pastor? Please do not research. I want to see what comes to mind right off the bat.
And these are the answers I got:
“Biblical Pastor: Apostle Paul..cause I’m currently studying Philippians”
“A biblical pastor lives by and preaches the word of God.”
“He (not a woman ) must feed & tend the flock of God. He must teach the Word of God and guide them to maturity. He must protect them from false teachers/heresy.”
“Biblical pastors live Christ Like lives. Doesn’t mean they are perfect but that is their top priority in order to please God. Then the rest will follow. They shepherd the sheep the way God said it in the Bible, not their own way.”
“Biblical Pastor: Humble, Teacher (but teachable at willing din ma-rebuke hehe).
His sermons are not about his or others’ experiences/testimonies, and hindi pinapalitan Gospel na about na sa kanya. Sound doctrine, exegesis, Scripture based teaching”
“Biblical pastor- everything he preaches and teaches can be found and should always be rooted on the Word. Hindi yung “I believe”, or “Tingin ko”, dapat “according to the Word”. Dami nga kasi pastors na about practicality lang ang message eh”
Some of the people I asked did not reply. As professing Christians this should be basic right? It doesn’t take a minute to answer what a biblical pastor is.
The Cost Of Not Knowing…
Not knowing would be tragic because when we don’t know, we will be prone to sitting under anyone’s teaching just because a person has the title “pastor” attached to his name.
Without knowing, we will rely on our own criteria, feelings, and our own minds about what a pastor should be.
Without knowing, we can be swayed by every wind of doctrine.
What would change if I knew what a biblical pastor is supposed to be?
If people knew what a biblical pastor is supposed to be, they’d stay under his care and leadership even if he doesn’t speak well, even if his fashion sense is next to zero, or even if according to their standards he is not caring enough.
You might think these things are shallow but these reasons exist whether you’ve seen it in the churches or not. Oftentimes we qualify pastors based on our feelings and preferences. Almost always our feelings and preferences are unbiblical.
When we know we are sitting under the care of a biblical pastor, we will endure and persevere no matter our preferences. We will love and support him, we will uphold him in prayer, we will find ways to help in whatever way we can in the ministry, serving alongside him, we will listen to his counsel and teaching, aiming to grow in spiritual maturity, and most of all we will strive for reconciliation and restoration when conflict arises.
What Is A Biblical Pastor?
Based on the mini survey I did with my friends, the top answers that came out revolved around the pastor as someone who faithfully preaches and teaches the word of God and shepherds and protects the flock.
1 I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Faithfully Preach And Teach the Word of God
The preaching and teaching of the word of God in many modern evangelical churches have become too sweet; we’ve forgotten that God’s word is supposed to bring us to our knees. It’s supposed to convict us of our sins and bring us to a heart of worship. It is not meant to heighten our deceitful heart’s emotions or our erratic feelings.
A biblical pastor will preach the word in season and out of season, in good times and bad times, in joy and sorrow, in life or death. Whether his audience will be happy with him or not, he is commanded to faithfully preach and teach the Word of God.
Sadly, a majority of the modern evangelical churches have pastors and leaders who are unfaithful. Whether it’s because of ignorance to the primary duty of a pastor or because of laziness and disobedience, many pastors neglect this commandment in many ways. Let me give you a few examples:
According to John Piper, “preaching and teaching is the pastor’s calling. It’s his job. He is supposed to spend whatever it takes to know the Scriptures and to make them plain for his people.”
A biblical pastor devotes most of his time studying the Scriptures. He works hard at preaching and teaching (1 Tim. 5:17). Not just studying, but meditating, with godly devotion and faithfulness. A biblical pastor wrestles with the word and does not stop until he gains clarity of the text.
I have asked pastors I respect about how long it takes for them to study in a week and the average is about 20-25 hours depending on the topic and I believe depending on how much they wrestle with the text and if they happen to encounter something that is hard to explain to lay people.
Some pastors are too lazy, they pretend they are studying but in truth are just copying someone else’s sermons. Try to Google it and you’ll find a good number of downloadable sermons. In the proliferation of online materials, modern pastors have resorted to plagiarizing the sermons of others.
Mistaking “Able To Teach” With “Able To Deliver”
Have you ever heard about premade sermons? It has been around for decades. Long before the internet has dominated our existence. These are sermons made by other people that can be bought. This isn’t the same as plagiarizing a sermon because with premade you buy the rights to reproduce it and preach it.
One of the qualifications of a pastor or elder is that he is able to teach (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 2:24). What does it mean that he is able to teach? Able to teach means he is able to accurately handle the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) and present it to people in a way that they can comprehend biblical truth without sugar coating or watering it down.
There are a number of churches who have the means to buy premade sermons, have their pastors “preach” it and think that their ability to deliver it effectively equates to their ability to teach God’s Word.
We are mistaken if we have this kind of thinking. A pastor can only teach biblical truths that he knows. What does a pastor know if he doesn’t spend time communing with God through diligent study of the Scriptures? So much so that he can’t produce his own sermons.
Preaching and teaching is a gift. Many are great speakers, many can be called motivational speakers but that doesn’t mean they are biblical. If they are not biblical how then can they be qualified?
Shepherds And Protects The Flock
28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20:28-30
Still rooted in the pastor’s faithfulness in preaching and teaching the Word of God, pastors are mandated to shepherd and protect the flock (1 Peter 5:2). Shepherding first and foremost is feeding the flock. Sheep need food, and they are totally dependent on the shepherd to be able to eat. Spiritually, we the flock need food too that only pastors can give us through faithful teaching of the word. Shepherding and protecting the flock go hand in hand in that if the pastor is faithful in teaching he is also protecting the flock.
But what is faithful teaching?
9 holding firmly the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it. Titus 1:9
John Calvin once said that a pastor ought to have two voices, one for gathering the sheep and another to drive away wolves.
Imagine a church that lacks biblical discipleship and biblical equipping of its people. Imagine when all we get in a bible study is how to become “good people.” How to properly manage our finances? How to find our breakthroughs? As opposed to knowing who God is, His attributes, doctrinal truths, of Christ and Him crucified?
Shepherding is equipping God’s people with biblical truths and sound doctrine, so that God’s people may grow in understanding and discernment to protect themselves from falsehoods and false teachers.
So many pastors are not proactive in calling out false teachings and false teachers. Some do appear to teach sound doctrine but fail at refuting those who contradict it. A biblical pastor has the voice to ward off wolves when they begin to creep inside the churches as well as outside. Pastors protect the flock by warding off falsehoods.
With faithful preaching and teaching a biblical pastor is able to shepherd and protect the flock.
Dear Pastors, how many Pastor’s Appreciation Days have you celebrated since you became servants for the cause of Christ?
Have you been laboring in the study of the Scriptures? Faithfully preaching and teaching God’s Word? Faithfully caring for the Bride of Christ the church?
Stay faithful to your calling. Examine yourselves. Do everything it takes to know the Scriptures and to equip God’s people. To the glory of God alone.
It is the vision of ELIAsia to see church leaders maturing in their spiritual standing, increasing in the knowledge of the Word, developing leadership abilities and ministry skills and setting an example for their members in growing spiritually.
If you’d like to partner with ELIAsia to develop biblical leaders for the local church, you may reach out to us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you may send us a message on our Facebook Page.