All Christians should have a desire to tell others about the truth of God, but not everyone is qualified to be a pastor. Today, Harry Reeder identifies the biblical qualifications for this office in the church.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: We’re recording live from Ligonier’s 2022 National Conference, and joining me is Dr. Harry Reeder, the senior minister of Briarwood Presbyterian Church. Dr. Reeder, what are the qualifications of a pastor?
DR. HARRY REEDER: The qualifications are the internal calling that the Lord called you, and the external calling that the Lord by His Spirit not only has called you personally and internally, but that the Lord by His Spirit has called you externally through His church. What are they to look for? Well, the qualifications are laid out for an elder in 1 Timothy 3. Notably, fifteen of them deal with character and conduct. First Timothy 3:2–3 look at the pastor’s and elder’s personal conduct, then his family conduct, then his church conduct, and then his community witness and conduct. So, he is to be above reproach. That does not mean perfect. It means an obvious example of the rule and reign of God’s grace having brought him to a certain level of maturity that manifests the presence of God’s wisdom. Not just knowledge and understanding, but wisdom, which is shown in the fruit of one’s behavior in life.
Jesus says you shall know wisdom by her children: the fruit of our behavior. So, I think that’s what you’re looking for. Now specifically, the pastor must be gifted to preach and teach and want to preach and teach. Now, let me be a little bit definitive. Not just preach, not just preach the Bible, but must want to preach the Bible to God’s people. Some preachers are people-oriented, some are Bible-oriented, some are preaching-oriented. The true call is of one called to preach the Bible to God’s people and bring the charge of love from a pure conscience and from a sincere faith and a pursuit of righteousness and holiness. That’s what God calls the pastor to do.
Secondly, he needs to have some leadership gifts so that he is able to lead God’s people. He’s a shepherd of the flock. He’s not a rancher. You don’t get behind the herd and drive it. You get in front of the flock, and you lead it. And the sheep know the Lord’s voice through you. And they follow the Lord through you, the undershepherd, as they serve the Chief Shepherd. So, I think you’re looking at someone who in word and deed is manifesting the maturity of the Holy Spirit, is tested in terms of their spiritual gifts as well as their spirituality. Where are they in their walk with the Lord? But ultimately, Spurgeon was right. If you’re called to the Lord, there’s nothing else you can do. If there’s anything else you can do, go do it. Because when you’re called, you don’t go into the ministry to be fulfilled. If you do, you won’t stay. You go into the ministry to fulfill the ministry. You don’t go in to get filled up. You go to pour yourself out as a drink offering all the way to the end.
What Is Christ-Centered Preaching?September 21, 2023
How Can I Talk to My Unbelieving Parents about the Gospel?September 14, 2023
What Should We Do If We Sense That We’re Becoming Calloused to a Particular Sin?September 07, 2023
Should Young People Study Theology?August 31, 2023
Is There Something Wrong with Me If I Don’t Feel God’s Presence in My Suffering?August 24, 2023