The Faithful Pastor (Pt. 5)

     Which leads us to Mark # 8, The faithful pastor is passionate for lost souls.  The proof of this is reflected not only in his personal witness but also in the church budget. Does his church commit 10-20% of their budget to local and global outreach? Are the elders involved in the lives of there missionaries? You need to ask yourself this fundamental questions: Do I have a passion for the lost? Does my personal/private life confirm this reality? Paul exhorted Timothy, in 2 Timothy 4:5 to “do the work of an evangelist.”

In Romans 9:3 Paul’s “missional heart” is clearly revealed, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Such was Paul’s passion for the salvation of the Jews. He loved his own so deeply. This internal burning kept his evangelistic heart aflame.

Our Divine mandate is also found in Acts 1:8 (the Apostles commissioning), “…You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Pastors should be able to echo the words of George Whitefield, “Lord give me souls or take my soul!” They should have hearts like John Knox, “God, give me Scotland or I die!” The faithful pastor has a genuine passion for lost souls.

 Mark # 9, The faithful pastor relentlessly protects his flock.  In other words, the faithful shepherd is willing to expose all false teachers and eliminate any false doctrine that could potentially harm his flock. His church is aware of the Emerging Church movement, the New Perspective on Paul, and other dangerous aberrations.  Throughout the NT the apostles warned their people of false teachers (2 Tim 4:15, 2 John 7-11, 2 Peter 2, Jude 4, Phil. 3:1-2). Probably two of the most powerful examples of this are detailed in Titus 1:9-16 & Gal. 1. Can you find stronger language anywhere else in the New Testament? The loving shepherd’s staff has many different functions! Sometimes the pastor has to use his staff like Gandalf the grey (remember the wizard battle in the Lord of Rings between Gandalf and Saruman?). The shepherd’s staff is used as a weapon to ward off dangerous prey (to defend one’s sheep). The faithful pastor relentlessly protects his flock.

 Which brings us to our final mark tonight; the 10th Mark of a faithful pastor is this. Through good times and bad, the faithful pastor perseveres. In the language of Paul “he endures hardship.” The national average of pastors remaining in a ministry is currently 2.3 years! Isn’t that amazing? In our churches case that would mean we would have had 14 pastors in the time we’ve had one.
 Why is this average so low? There are lots of reasons why pastors don’t last in the ministry. Sometimes a man goes to a place where the people driven him out (can I get a witness in the congregation?). Other times the elder or deacon board is unqualified and ungodly (and thus ultimately pushes the man of God out). In some cases the pastor is not qualified or equipped to handle the challenges of the pastorate. No one would deny that ministry consists of highs and lows, mountains and valleys, and it is not for the faint-hearted. Many who start in FT ministry, quit well before they retire. In Acts 20:19, Paul said he served the Ephesians with tears and through trials.
 There are many occasions which can contribute to Pastoral depression. In 2 Cor 7:6, Paul wrote, “But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us.” The Corinthian church drove Paul down to the “pits of despair.” Many pastors, like C.H. Spurgeon, have wrestled with dark days of depression throughout their ministries. Did you know that ministers can also get Discouraged? Pastor R Kent Hughes notes, “Almost everything a pastor does, can be scrutinized by the church- selection of house, and cars, tastes in clothing, education of their children, choices of entertainment- to name just a few possibilities.” The “fishbowl syndrome” has given rise to some inside humor among ministers about The ‘Ideal Pastor’.
The Ideal Pastor:
Is always casual, but never underdressed-
Is warm and friendly, but not too familiar-
Is humorous, but not funny-
Calls on his members, but is never out of the office-
Is an expository preacher, but always preaches on the family-
Is profound, but comprehensible-
Condemns sin, but is always positive-
Has a family of ordinary people, who never sin-
Has two eyes- one brown and the other blue
.”

Unrealistic expectations seem to just come with the territory. This list doesn’t even include the “Sanbalets” in ministry who always seem to be working against the will of God (Neh. 4).  Or the contentious “Diotrephes’ ”, who love to stir up strife (3 John 9). It seems that every pastor has a Sanbalet and a Diotrephes. It’s no wonder there are seasons when pastors are totally restless (2 Cor. 2:13).  Only seasoned pastors can really empathize with Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. One teacher paraphrases this text well, “We are squeezed but not squashed, bewildered but not befuddled, pursued but not abandoned, knocked down but not knocked out.” Such is the gospel-driven ministry; BUT The faithful pastor perseveres to the end. He realizes that he’s fighting the good fight and he’s running the true course. The faithful servant of God endures hardship and thus he fulfills his ministry! Through good times and bad, the faithful pastor perseveres.

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One response to this post.

  1. Some of you will probably say 10-20% is an arbitrary figure in regards to a missions budget. I would agree. Each church has to determine what % would reflect an honest commitment to evangelism.

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