What is a Pastor/Elder?

What is the “job description” for a man who would be a pastor/elder?

Taken from Ed Stetzer’ blog, where you can find the video of this sermon.

What’s a Pastor to Do?

Our church faces a decision that some of you have never faced before. It is one that is filled with excitement and tension.

To fully grasp the weight of this decision, turn to the 3 T’s of the New Testament: 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus.

We will move through these 3 letters Paul wrote to early church leaders.

The role of pastor is a rare one. Few positions exist so few are called to fill them.

Though everyone in this room serves a place of importance in their family, company, and in the church, the role of the pastor is unique.

And it is referred to with a rare word: noble

1 Timothy 3:1– This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.”

Noble is not a word we use any longer. It sounds like something reserved for the King Arthur and the knights of the round table.

But the work of pastor is a high calling. It is something which most will never do and most can never understand.

A few things it is not:
-Not just a job<
-Not the only one “called to the ministry”
-Not superman
-Not “the minister”

1. Unique Qualifications

In the letters to Timothy and Titus, Paul lays out the character and characteristics that are required for pastors.

Titus 1:5-9
1 Timothy 3:1-7

These are non-negotiables. A pastor may be a sports fan or not. A pastor might be young or old. A pastor could be any nationality, any ethnicity, and from any station in life.

But a pastor must be biblically qualified to serve in such a position for the church headed by Christ.

Now I could go through the qualifications for a pastor/elder word by word, but I believe I can summarize it effectively with a few ideas.

a. True

All of the characteristics listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 describe a pastor whose life matches his calling.

Titus 1:5-9
The reason I left you in Crete was to set right what was left undone and, as I directed you, to appoint elders in every town: someone who is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of wildness or rebellion. For an overseer, as God’s manager, must be blameless, not arrogant, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.

1 Timothy 3:1-7
This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy–one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.

Qualifications given are temperate, self-controlled, respectable, a good reputation, blameless, upright, holy, and disciplined.

There is oversight here and tied in to family and children.

Titus 1:5-9 someone who is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of wildness or rebellion. must be blameless, not arrogant, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible,
1 Timothy 3:1-7
must be above reproach,
the husband of one wife,
self-controlled,
sensible,
respectable,
hospitable,
an able teacher,
not addicted to wine,
not a bully but gentle,
not quarrelsome,
not greedy–
one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?)

 b. Spiritual

A spiritually appointed office must be filled with Spirit-filled pastor.

1 Timothy 3:1-7:
He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil.
Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.

Titus 1:5-9:
righteous,
holy,
self-controlled,
holding to the faithful message as taught,
so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.


2. Unique Responsibilities

The primary task is to provide scriptural leadership to the church

a. Teach the Scriptures

“Before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom, I solemnly charge you: proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

Titus 4:9 – “holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it”

The unique work of guiding an entire congregation to understand and follow the scriptures is unlike any other responsibility on earth.
b. Lead the Church

Titus 1:5 – “The reason I left you in Crete was to set right what was left undone and, as I directed you…”

Titus was the lead the new congregation forward. This included the appointment of additional leaders, directing the ministry of the church, holding believers accountable for sin, and teaching the gospel.

“… one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?)” (1 Timothy 3:4-5).

As a pastor, you lead. Now all fathers are supposed to lead. But a pastor must also lead a church. In Paul’s words, “take care of God’s church.”

You are not hiring a preacher, but a pastor. Pastors lead.


c. Equip Believers

“And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness” (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Your job is to do the ministry. The pastor’s job is to equip for that ministry.

This changes the view of success.

Many of you will measure success by if the pastor met your needs, visited you in the hospital, and does a good job on the stage. And, I will tell you, that a pastor can do all those things, and not be a faithful pastor according to God’s job description.

We will call a pastor soon and we need to remember the job to which he is called. His job is to teach, lead, and equip… and, I want to tell you, that he won’t be able to do all those things and still live the expectations that many of you have.

If pastors do for people what God calls them to do, they get the praise and the work of God gets hindered.

So, let’s be sure that we recognize the unique qualifications and unique call.

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