The Qualifications for Pastoral Leadership

1 Timothy 3:1-7

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Titus 1:5b-11

…ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake…


This issue has stirred up my spirit more than once in the year 2012. I have watched the sacred desk be disgraced by more than one person who says that he is “called” by God to pastor, but then I have watched his life exemplify everything except a calling from God.


I cannot understand how anyone does not see that God made it very clear in His Word who was to shepherd His people. He said through Paul to Timothy that if any man desired this work, he desired a good work. Shepherding is a good work for those who are called and qualified. God loves for us to have pastors because He said “And I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15). God gave the pastoral qualifications in accordance with His Word and His will for us. He knew that leading his people would be an influential task, and He only wanted the influence of someone who exemplified His leadership to be in that role. We have, however, followed and tolerated men who do not exemplify these qualities at all. In the last two years alone, the news has been full of so-called pastors who have been caught in all kinds of scandals, from extra-marital affairs to financial impropriety. Paul warned us that this would come. Now it is here.


I am reminded of a situation in the national news where a certain pastor was crowned in his church pulpit. I know of another situation where a pastor verbally threatened a blogger who called him out for fleecing the sheep in his church. Another nationally known pastor was thrown off of a commercial flight for his behavior and language. Another nationally known pastor got married and within three years of getting married, he fathered two children with young women in his congregation, and one of them was a minor! Yet another nationally known pastor renounced the gospel, began teaching that there is no real hell, and that we are all saved by the blood of Jesus. He said that gospel made him feel better about his unsaved grandparents who died without a relationship with the Lord Jesus.


Locally, a pastor killed his wife, went to church and lied in the pulpit about her whereabouts. Another pastor was involved in an extramarital affair, and while he was with his mistress in another state, he had some health problems that prevented him from getting home on his own. He actually had to call someone from the church he pastored to come and get him and take him home! Another pastor began an affair and left his wife and children while still pastoring his church. Another pastor’s teenage son got his girlfriend pregnant, and instead of being ashamed, he and his wife flaunted the fact that they were going to be grandparents. They forced the young man and his girlfriend to get married, and then the young man left the church and joined the nation of islam.


I will not even touch the subject of women pastors.


All of the above-mentioned men have disqualified themselves from pastoral leadership. The Bible says that the bishop must be blameless. If I know about an affair that you are having, then you are not blameless! I don’t even think we consider the blameless quality because everyone is so defensive about someone falsely accusing them. Being falsely accused and being blameless are two totally different things…


The pastor is to be the husband of one wife. Every man who involves himself sexually with another woman has joined himself spiritually to a harlot (1 Corinthians 6:16). When a man enters a sexual relationship with a woman, he is joined to her spiritually, which is why God reserved the sexual relationship for a husband and his wife. It is a covenant relationship, and when he breaks that covenant, he is disqualified from pastoral leadership. (Bible scholars differ on how long he is disqualified. In my opinion, he is disqualified forever. Others suggest that if he is repentant and has lived a number of years as a Godly example, then he can be restored.) How can he lead men in marital relationships that honor the Lord when he cannot keep honor the Lord with his own marriage?


The pastor must be one of good behavior. Remember the pastor I told you about earlier who got thrown off of the commercial flight because of his language and attitude? That was not good behavior. Remember the pastor who was crowned in his church? He was also accused of taking indecent liberties with several young men in his church. That is not good behavior. Remember the pastor who left his wife and his children while still pastoring his church? That same pastor tried to destroy his wife and ruin her reputation in the community. That is not good behavior. Remember the pastor who fathered two children with women in his congregation within three years of getting married? He had the audacity to go into the pulpit and use David’s discretion as his excuse to tell the congregation “I am STILL the man!” while the congregation clapped and cheered him on.


We have tolerated this kind of behavior in the church far too long. No one is willing to call the pastor out on his behavior. No one is willing to call the pastor out on his behavior. The church has replaced the worship of the Lord Jesus and replaced it with worshiping the pastor. But you better hear me, church of the Living GOD! This nonsense has got to stop. You have got to stand on the Word of God. God’s Word is truth and there is no one or nothing that is excused from obeying God’s law. James even went so far as to say that people ought to be careful in taking these teaching positions in the church, because they come with greater condemnation for those who take them lightly. I guess the church thinks that God does not mean what He says. I think we have gotten comfortable here in this world.


Jesus is coming back sooner than we think. When He returns, all of this nonsense that the church is “getting away with” right now is going to stop. The Bible says that He is coming back for a people that are without spot or blameless (2 Peter 3:14). The church today is not only spotted, but we are not without blame and neither are our leaders.


I will continue to pray for pastors, teachers and leaders within the body of Christ. I pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will capture their hearts and draw them back to God’s Word, where I am sure they all started.


Dear Lord,


Please draw your people back unto Yourself. Please fill our pastors and teachers with Your Spirit and give them the desire to shepherd Your people to the best of their ability. Fill Your church with Your people who live by Your standard and are ready to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the lost people of the world. Help the pastors live a life that shows the love and holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ, because You said in Your Word that without holiness, no man shall see the Lord…


We thank You and praise you In Jesus’ Name…

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