What are the Qualifications of a Pastor?
1 Timothy 3
1 Timothy 3:2 KJV A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Blameless - There are sins that are common to man that must be repented of, yet leave little to no stains due to their commonality. Then there are stains left by heinous sins, even though all sin is heinous to God, that remove a man from being blameless as it pertains to the qualifications of an bishop (elder/pastor).
For example, is a "pedophile" blameless? That would be a literal HELL no!
Husband of one wife - This is interpreted as must be married, one wife for life except for death, and one wife at a time. I am persuaded that it makes practical sense that an elder be married so they can more effectively lead married families, although I do not see this as a command and precise interpretation of this verse. As for one wife for life except for death versus one wife and a time, let me ask you a question which brings us to verse 4 and 5, if a man is divorced how is he ruling his own house? Granted in the context of the timeframe this letter was written polygamy was greatly practiced, yet I still feel that the intent is that a man be married to one woman for life except for death which is the best example that fully qualifies him for this aspect of the office of a bishop without question.
Vigilant - An elder must not be a weak kneed push over that is afraid to admonish his flock over fear of loss and prestige. He must be prepared to weather through all difficulties and warn of all evil. He must be prepared to confront wolves that invade the pasture he is called to.
Sober - An elder must have control when it comes to food, drink, and surely not be addicted to drugs. One area I have noticed in my time in the churches is that obesity is laughed at by certain so-called elders. This is a violation of sobriety. It is easy to preach against drunkenness with drink, but not so easy to preach against drunkenness with food.
Of good behavior - What is good behavior? Our conscience teaches us this with very little expounding required. Yet when in question, refer to the Word of God, and this is what an elder of “good behavior” does. As a matter of fact, he refers to the Word of God regardless.
Given to hospitality - If a man despises being around people, he will not be given to hospitality. I do not believe this disqualifies the introvert either. An introverted man is not easily distracted by extroversion which gives him more focus to direct his hospitality appropriately.
Apt to teach - If you have no desire to teach, you have no business being a pastor. There is no such thing as Rockstar Christianity, at least when it pertains to the Biblical qualifications of a pastor.
1 Timothy 3:3 KJV Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
Not given to wine - I refuse, as a preacher, to be another man’s excuse for drunkenness. I have seen and experienced the abuses of alcohol. It is best for an elder to refrain from its usage altogether. This is the best example!
So "preacher," your selfies with alcoholic beverages do not impress me at all.
No striker/brawler - Listen, I was a career soldier that was trained to kill (thankfully, never was in a position to have to do so), so I know all about the physical fight. I also know that if you are qualified to be an elder there may be a fight between ideologies, but not with fists.
Greedy of filthy lucre/covetous - If you are not prepared to lose everything as an elder you have no literal “business” of being an elder. You do not have to beg, plead, grift, coax, or give a sob story for financial gain or sustainment. You do not have to change your message for the same. If you do, you are a servant of mammon and not the GOD I serve who supplies all of our need. This is why I can say, shove your money where the SON and sun do not shine to all who believe it has power over me.
I am content with the provision and blessings of the LORD. Those who partner with this work are icing on the cake and with the attitude I present concerning money, I know if they still give it is because GOD told them to do so - not my greedy covetous begging, pleading, and prodding.
DiscipleJJ @DiscipleJJ on Gab replies,
Citing 1 Tim 5:17-18, the associate pastor at my church said in a sermon this past Sunday, "So you see, it is biblical to pay church elders, especially those who preach and teach." I was a little dumbfounded, but maybe I'm just dumb?! What say you?
If a church body agrees to hire an elder for full time or part time work, the church ought to pay their hireling. The elder ought not to be serving just for the sake of the "hireling" status though - neither be a servant to the same status. Always have a "tentmaker" back up plan.
Luke 10:7 KJV And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
1 Timothy 5:18 KJV For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
DiscipleJJ @DiscipleJJ I feel I should give a little context … small church, average attendance 140 or so, elders are voted in, not hirelings. I definitely can see where hired elders who play large roles in bigger churches would be on the payroll. Ours are not on the payroll.
The local church is autonomous and has the authority to decide how to conduct their business, finances, and employment. Much like the autonomy of a family house. If an incoming elder desires to serve within a particular local church he agrees to their established terms, otherwise he must Biblically negotiate other terms prior to the agreed service.
Which brings the question, why would any church want to hire a man to lead their church or even negotiate with him if he can not lead his own home?
1 Timothy 3:4-5 KJV One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (5) (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
If you can not take dominion of your own house, how in the literal Hell are you going to take dominion over a church let alone a country!?
1 Timothy 3:6-7 KJV Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (7) Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Novice - My salvation began as an 18 year old kid. There is no way I could fill the office as an elder at that time. If someone prodded me into this position during this time outside of the will of God, this would have been very foolish and a disservice to myself. The same applies to new believers. There must be time to grow and mature. Consistency and experience with good reference must be established, otherwise great pain will be brought to the immature elder and church.
1 Timothy 3:8 KJV Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
Doubletongued - in other words, not a backroom backstabber who is against your pastor and then smiles to his face.
Deacons have the similar qualifications of a bishop. They are not to be appointed based on how much they give to the church financially. It is also noted that their wives must not be causing havoc in the church with gossip and slander.
The office of the deacon is the most misunderstood, overlooked, and undervalued office of the church. This should not be so!
If the members of a church seek to behave in accordance with the Bible they teach, there will be peace among the members. Church is a team effort.
1 Timothy 3:15 KJV But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
And the utmost disqualification from the office of a pastor is to deny that Jesus is God as the Son of God.
There is no debate, true Christians do not debate that GOD came to this earth in the flesh.
1 Timothy 3:16 KJV And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.