There are sometimes misunderstandings or lack of a healthy relationship between Christians and their religious leaders and even among our religious leaders themselves. I believe this is largely due to the lack of understanding of the roles and calling of these spiritual leaders. So I share with you eight things we must clearly understand about pastors.
1. The pastor is a human being set apart by God to lead his flock and to advance his kingdom on earth.
Sometimes we expect too much from pastors. We criticize them unfairly and take advantage of them. But what we fail to realize is that they are human beings just like us. They also have flaws. The only difference is the anointing upon their lives, which means they have been called, sanctified and set aside for God’s work.
2. The pastor is there for you
The pastor is someone you must greatly respect. But you are not supposed to fear him because he is there for you. In fact, he has been called to serve you (that is if he/she really understands his office). As a result, if you are wise, it should be in your own interest not to take him for granted or abuse him.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Luke 13:34
3. Being a pastor can be mentally and emotionally challenging
“l am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” Matthew 10:16
Being a pastor is not easy because people are very complex and can be very dishonest and evil, yet, God has called pastors to serve them. The moment you decide as a pastor that nobody is going to hurt you anymore and by so doing you start building defences around your heart out of bitterness, that will be the beginning of the end of your calling.
4. Pastors are like sacrificial lambs.
A pastor’s life is used by God as an example to help, teach and guide his members. So usually when you are called by God, you go through strange issues or problems. You even try to live a very careful and peaceful life, yet, troubles find a way to find you. All these are supposed to be learning experiences that are not just for you but they are for the benefit of the people God will or has entrusted into your care. So God uses you a lot and you will feel used as a pastor. God has made it so because instead of all his children going through the same experiences to gain a certain lesson, it is better for one to go through it and guide the others so that they would not also go through them. Moreover, so that the pastor can strengthen his people in times of challenge, having gone through a similar experience before. This even helps to speed up Gods kingdom. That is why you hear them say God sometimes takes you through a mess to give you a message. It is therefore very important that we support and pray for our religious leaders. Because their lives are being sacrificed for our good and it is usually not easy for them. But we thank God for grace.
Yet even if I am being poured out like an offering as part of the sacrifice and service I offer for your faith, I rejoice, and I share my joy with all of you – Philippians 2:17
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man dies for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. – John 11:49-52
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” – luke 22:31-32
Also, this is what Paul said to the Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1
5. By their fruits ye shall know them.
Today we have so many people out there with all kinds of titles calling themselves men of God. You need to know the Bible and have a spirit of discernment to be able to identify the false ones. Again, though the number of churches is increasing rapidly and many are going to church, iniquity is greatly abounding. We shouldn’t be quickly carried away by the number of churches and pastors coming up. We must look at their fruits. We must look at quality, not quantity.
6. The pastor must be clear about his calling, strengths, weaknesses and limits.
The pastor must know and understand his or her calling and gifts. He must be aware of his strengths, weaknesses and limits, else:
His members might push him into certain areas which are outside his calling or capabilities just because other churches are doing it.
Else, he might find himself distracted or intimidated by the gifts of other Pastors or what other Pastors are doing.
Else, he might find himself pursuing other people’s calling which might be different from his calling or what he has been given the grace to do.
A pastor must be clear in his mind and focused on what God has called him to do. Paul clearly understood his calling, what he was called to do and not to do. So he said: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” 1 Corinthians 1:17
7. Pastors must understand they all have a common goal
The pastor must understand that God did not give him all and he was not called to do all by himself. He is just part of a team or a body belonging to Christ. If he clearly understands this, he will be willing to partner and count on other team members (pastors) gifts to help him advance the kingdom of God together. So you see that humility is very key in ministry. Because if you are not humble, you can not appreciate what God has given to others and tap into them when necessary to advance the kingdom of God. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand” Mark 3:24
8. Pastors must know that the gifts are different but the goal is the same
Unity and diversity in the body – 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so, the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
So these are eight things we must clearly understand about Pastors. I hope it benefits you greatly.