1. The Pastor Is to Have a Faith Worthy of Following
Remember them which have the rule over you…considering the end of their conversation—Hebrew 13:7
Though God gives the pastor authority to lead God’s people spiritually, He does not do so without accountability. In 1 Peter 5:3, God instructs the pastor of His church in this way: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” The pastor is to lead the church by example. His authority should not have to demanded, but desired by the people God has put under his spiritual care.
This is one of the reason that God has given specific qualifications for a man who would be a pastor. It is not something that just anyone can do. Being a pastor is a privilege only for those who would seek, by God’s enabling, to lead their own lives in such a way that God could use their lives to lead others.
Only God can truly produce this caliber of spiritual leadership in a man’s life!
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;”—1 Timothy 1:12
2. The Pastor Is to Fend for the Flock
Obey them that have the rule over you…for they watch for your souls—Hebrews 13:17
Just as it is the responsibility of a shepherd to watch out for predators that would sneak into the fold and steal away sheep, so it is the responsibility of the pastor as the under-shepherd to fend for God’s people.
Paul warned about the “wolves” that would enter into God’s church:
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.—Acts 20:28–29
It is the pastor’s responsibility to fight off these wolves of false doctrine, false prophets, and strife-causers.
Sometimes your Pastor may do something that doesn’t make sense to you. But, remember, he is responsible to look after your spiritual well-being! Allow him to caution you about potential dangers in your life.
3. The Pastor Is to Follow-up on the Flock
Obey them that have the rule over you…for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief:—Hebrews 13:17
God gives the pastor the responsibility of keeping track of the spiritual condition of the people under his ministry. This is carried out in several ways.
It is the pastor’s responsibility to seek out the lost sheep. Jesus told us that there are still “other sheep” who have not yet been added to God’s fold. It is the pastor’s responsibility to lead the church in seeking and bringing them in.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.—John 10:16
It is also the pastor’s responsibility to seek out the wandering sheep. As much as there is a front door to every church, there is a back door as well. And while many new people are coming in the front door, there are existing members who are trying to quietly sneak out the back door. It is the pastor’s duty to lead the church in seeking out those who are wandering and restore them.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.—Galatians 6:1
It is the pastor’s responsibility to care for the sick sheep. Sometimes hardship overtakes members of the church. Whether it be physical illness, financial difficulty, relationship conflict, or sin issues, there are a plethora of causes for God’s people to become “sick” and be in need of care or counsel. God has called the pastor to tend to the needs of those who are hurting.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.—James 1:27
You can let your pastor be your pastor by allowing him to confront you when you wander, care for you when you are hurting, or counsel you when you are in need of direction. Remember, that is why God has given you a Pastor!
4. The Pastor is to Fellowship with the Flock
Salute all them that have the rule over you,—Hebrews 10:24
Just as Christ modeled self-less love for His sheep, God expects His under-shepherd, the pastor, to love them.
Even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;—Ephesians 5:25
One of the qualifications God has given for a pastor is that he be a man who is hospitable.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach:—1 Timothy 3:2
The pastor ought to regularly be finding opportunities to spend time with the people in his congregation and his community. He ought not be an island to himself. A man told me about pastoring, “A true shepherd will smell like His sheep.” A real pastor ought to know His people and His people ought to know him. Please don’t keep your pastor at arm’s length, allow him to minister to you and serve you personally.
One of the best ways you can allow your pastor to be your pastor is by intentionally involving yourself in his life. Call him. Write him an encouraging note. Make a point to get by to greet him every week. (Keep in mind, it is often very difficult for the pastor to get around to greet everyone in the congregation every week before they leave the church building after a service.)
God makes it clear in His Word that a pastor is one of His gifts to the church.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:—Ephesians 4:11–12
If God has blessed you with a man whom you call “Pastor,” allow him to be the man God has called Him, equipped him, and given him to be for you.