Choosing A New Pastor


Profiling a new Pastor

These things [doctrinal principles] also you have learned (“manthano” – Koiné Greek – means under strict academic discipline) and received (metabolized — accepted as true)  and heard and seen in me (Paul), practice these things (now, put into continuous action) and our God of peace shall be with you”  

The Plan of God for the believer is to learn, understand, believe, and apply Bible Doctrine (Truth) in everyday life.

When we are taught under the spiritual authority of our Pastor/Teacher and believe the teaching, we are to then meditate and process what we have learned and apply those things to life circumstances, with faith. In doing so, we are equipped for spiritual warfare in our everyday lives. Equipped with what? Doctrine! This is God’s purpose for every believer.

1 Timothy 2:3 summarizes God’s Plan: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” Here we see that God desires that all men should be saved and learn God’s Truths. Learning and applying Bible doctrine is how we live the spiritual life and it is how God blesses us and we glorify Him as a result. 

In Ephesians 4:13 Paul states it like this: “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man (advancing believer), to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Notice also, the word “unity.”

When believers in the local congregation are being taught Biblical Principles and categories from the Word of God, unity is another of the many results of Doctrine in our souls. A body of believers united in study and service, is unstoppable. Why? Because God is glorified when we follow His Plan. 

This is the order in which we learn and live God’s Plan – study, believe, metabolize and apply Scripture. We can do none of these effectively, however, unless we are filled by the Holy Spirit. When we are filled with the Spirit, God the Holy Spirit is in control. When God is in control of our thinking, He is in control of our actions and therefore in control of our lives. The result of His simple grace plan is: We benefit and God is glorified. 

Paul, further clarifies the importance of learning God’s Word in Ephesians 1:17, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Paul uses two very select words: “wisdom” and “revelation,” but notice, again, this revelation comes by the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and revelation through metabolized doctrine.

When we receive the Word, believe the Word, and apply the Word, God is glorified and His plan for the believer’s life is advancing. When we all learn together, believe together and then apply the teaching of our pastor, the Church becomes stronger and more unified. We are like a marching Army with our Lord Jesus Christ leading the way to the high ground of fullness in Christ which is maturity.

“We can do all things through Christ who is our strength” Philippians 4:13. The “all things” refers to good and bad, sickness and health, prosperity and affliction. Notice it is Christ who sustains the believer. It is Christ who gives us strength. The believer’s power sources advancing to maturity are: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God. The Word of God must be in us and it must be understood, believed and ready for battle, but the battle is the Lord’s. This is God’s Plan for you and me — for our Church body of believers. Therefore we must have a leader who understands these principles and teaches these principles.

The responsibility of the Pastor/Teacher, first and foremost, is to communicate Bible Doctrine in the academic classroom which is the auditorium of the church on Sunday morning. The Church must be a teaching ministry. Biblical principles must be taught both categorically and systematically from the pulpit. What do we mean by the words categorically and systematically? We mean teaching subject matter by topics or subjects starting with the foundation “salvation” and “after salvation what?”

After salvation the Pastor must teach us so that God is erecting a usable Grace Place in the soul of each believer. We must needs understand, for example: “The Deity of Jesus Christ,” “Doctrine of Salvation,” “Doctrine of Justification,” “Eternal Security,” “The Grace of God,” “Angelic Warfare,” “Judgment Seat of Christ,” “The Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age” and of course, the imperative of the “Filling of the Holy Spirit.” These are just a few.

Learning God’s Word by categories is like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle. There are hundreds of categorical studies that every believer must metabolize on the road to spiritual maturity. We cannot function in the Plan of God if we are not grounded in Bible Doctrine — in fact, we cannot mature without Doctrine. We cannot grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ without the right Pastor/Teacher.

I’m not talking preaching, I am talking teaching as in a University setting. The Pastor must instruct the Bible students (congregation) in the Word of God as in an academic classroom. Christians are preached to death from all angles. What we need is instruction in Biblical studies (the MEAT of the Word) every Sunday morning and at least once during the week, plus prayer meetings, etc., etc. Without proper instruction we will remain babies in Christ.

How can we know which person is the right Pastor/Teacher? By his academic training? By his personality? By his teaching? By his messages? The correct answer is all of the above, but most of all it is the message not the messenger! The pastor cannot communicate what he does not know, therefore, his life must be devoted to studying and teaching the Word of God. He must look forward with inner joy to countless hours of study under the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:24-29).

The pastor’s personality is not to be the main issue in the selection process. Pastors are human beings and should not be placed on a pedestal by members of the congregation – they too, have “feet of clay.” Placing our faith in a Pastor because he is a dynamic speaker or a charismatic person is not following Scriptural guidelines, plus it sets us up for a fall.

When we place our faith in a pastor because he is so dynamic, we are trusting the Pastor not the Lord. When believers idolize the pastor, they enter the gates of iconoclastic arrogance (placing someone on a pedestal). This is the trap of the devil. The result is the believer is shocked to a point where some never return to the church or the Lord. They quit the Plan of God because they were idolizing the pastor and not the Savior. Unrealistic expectations only serve to distract us from God’s Plan.

We must be occupied with Christ! We are not to be preoccupied with the pastor. Again, it is the message — the teaching that comes from the pulpit, not the rosy Sunday glow!

The apostle Paul was anything but “Mr. Personality.” He was short and mostly bald. He didn’t have a dynamic speaking voice. He did not try to impress his listeners with how great he was or his showmanship — Paul had none. But, God blessed Paul’s ministry unlike any other teacher in the Bible. Paul stuck with doctrine. He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and the result was he became the greatest teacher who ever lived. He was a teacher of accuracy. He always went to the point and never feared reprisal.

We can not and must not place our eyes on people or things — we must keep our eyes in Scripture. We must not become self-proclaimed followers of Christ. This leads to jealousy, hypocrisy, coveting, boastfulness, self righteousness, legalism and hypocrisy. These fleshly characteristics cause fall-outs. Fall-outs are the result of cliques and politics, both of which are evil. Today, our Churches are full of evildoers because of pride and egos. Churches are full of believers living in the flesh … not in the spirit. Pride goes before the fall.

Each of us has to do battle with the lust-patterns in our soul. Each of us has an area of weakness and an area of strength. We are wrong to go around comparing our strengths to another’s weaknesses and in our souls declaring, ‘I’m not as bad as so-and-so.’ We must learn how to allow God to control our thinking if we are ever going to control our actions. To control our flesh we must allow God to control our thoughts and transform our minds by His Word stored in our souls. We walk in the filling of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16; 25; Ephesians 4:1). When our sins are confessed, we are walking in the light (1 John 1:7-9).

In our culture we assign certain characteristics to certain people such as politicians, doctors, celebrities, teachers and especially pastors and so on. We expect certain people to fit a certain profile — a certain mold. When anyone departs from the mold (right or wrong) they are ridiculed, rejected, condemned or criticized. We cannot meet up to each others standards or else we must live a life of many standards. We cannot be everything to everybody. Teenagers, for example must learn to live out of their own soul. The Pastor too must be well adjusted to reality and live in his own soul. He must remain who he is and not try to please everyone. We must all live out of our own souls, but we must be patient and flexible to adjust to others with compassion, gentleness and tolerance.

Peer pressure is a terrible thing because it destroys so many lives. Placing anyone on a pedestal or attempting to be like someone you admire is iconoclastic arrogance. Jesus Christ is the person we all should place on the pedestal of life — not celebrities or pastors. It is interesting that placing Jesus Christ on a pedestal requires humility. Placing celebrities or anyone else on a pedestal is idolatry which is anti-Christ. If you really want to be like somebody, start with Jesus Christ. Become occupied with Christ and don’t look back! Iconoclastic arrogance is divorced from reality because it neglects and/or rejects Bible Doctrine. Just remember: the arrogant reaction of disillusion inevitably leads to vindictiveness, implacability and bitterness. It is a major cause of apostasy among believers — apostate believer’s equal apostate churches.

Iconoclastic people find it very difficult to blame themselves — it is always the fault of someone else. Alcoholism and all forms of addiction are forms of iconoclastic arrogance. It is a serious issue in our culture and our churches. When a maximum number of believers and unbelievers turn from God and His wonderful Word, our society will crumble while everyone points their finger.

Bible doctrine keeps the believer oriented to Christ. Bible Doctrine is the lighthouse in a world of darkness for the unbeliever. Let your light (in fellowship) shine for the lost to see with much humility. You, the believer in Christ hold the answer to humanities problems in your hands when you hold the Bible in your heart. As believers we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Just remember even the greatest believers fail! Paul failed many times as did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Gideon, Samson, David, Joseph, Peter and John. We all fail God. We all sin. Therefore we must keep our eyes on Christ — the written Word who lives.

Spiritual authority of the pastor is taught in Hebrews 13:7: “Remember those who led (taught) you, who spoke (taught) the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:17a: “Obey your leaders (pastors) and submit for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.” Pray for your pastor that he will be devoted to a life of study and teaching by the Holy Spirit. The pastor is responsible directly to the Lord for his teaching ministry. Be aware before you decide to become a Pastor, there is a double price to pay when you get out of line (Luke 12:48; 1 Timothy 5:17; James 3:1).

No child of God can love God until he knows God, therefore Bible Doctrine must be taught from the pulpit at least twice a week. Feed your spirit. Select a teacher for your church based on his teaching methodology and remember it is not the messenger it is the message. Paul gives us wisdom regarding the “profile” of a Pastor.

He is to be many things, but most importantly he is an overseer and teacher. He is the appointed shepherd (guardian); he is a servant; ordained by the “Good Shepherd” for active duty. Paul highlighted some very important characteristics that the Pastor and other leaders must have so we know what to look for in the selection process: In Ephesians 4:11-16, the Pastor is to equip the saints for service by constantly teaching God’s Word.

In Colossians 1:23-29, the Pastor is to rejoice in his sufferings for the body of Christ and carry out the teaching of the Word, inculcating the congregation with doctrine so that he may present them “complete” (mature) in Christ — this is the pastors primary responsibility.

In 1 Timothy 3:1-9, the Pastor must be above reproach, temperate, prudent respectable, hospitable, able to teach, gentle, un-conscientious, and free from the love of money.

In 2 Timothy 2:24-26, the pastor must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition.

In Titus 1:6-9, the Pastor is not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

In closing, there are several Bible Seminaries that can be called for Pastoral referral. I highly recommend Chafer Theological Seminary in California. Chafer is producing some of the very finest Pastors in Christianity today. Lewis Sperry Chafer was the founder and first president of Dallas Theological Seminary more than fifty years ago. May I suggest that the leadership of your Church contact these great institutions in the search for God’s selection if a Pastor/Teacher is needed.

Happy Studying! 

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