June 1, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Who Am I? It is time to look at the vocation to which God has called me – I am a pastor. The scripture I have chosen that best describes the content of the position to which I have been called is Titus 1:6 through 9. A man can be appointed as a pastor…
…if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children
not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blame-
less, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to
wine, not violent, not given to money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good,
sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he
has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and
convict those who contradict.
● I am a pastor. In Titus 1:5 Paul calls the one filling such a position an elder. In verse 7 he refers to a bishop. In Ephesians 4:11 (Good News Bible) the apostle says that God “…appointed some…to be pastors….”
○ In the Greek:
– Elder can mean an older person, but when applied to the one holding such a position in the church, it means presbyter.
– Bishop means an overseer.
– Pastor means a shepherd.
These three titles in the New Testament refer to the same office.
○ How was I called to be a pastor? My wife’s dad was an American Baptist Churches USA pastor for 30 years. Growing up at a PK (pastor’s kid), Hope experienced some of the expectations that people put on such a child. So when we were married she told me, “You can be anything you want to be. Just don’t be a pastor!” Since I loved the family farm where I grew up until I was eleven years old, I settled on Agricultural Engineering, and started my schooling at the University of Connecticut. But after only one semester, I became discouraged with my choice, and temporarily dropped out of college. I moped around for a couple of weeks wondering what I should pursue for a life’s work.
One day soon after, my wife, seeing my moping mood, said, “Well, what’s wrong with the ministry?” After I got up off the floor! – I thought, “What is wrong with the ministry? Why, nothing, really!” And so I applied and to attend Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. We moved there before I was even accepted, because I knew in my heart this is what God was calling me to do for my life’s work!
I have heard it said, “Being a pastor is the best job you will ever hate!” And it is true! Sometimes I have loved being a pastor and would not want to do anything else. But other times I would rather eat a peck of dirt rather than be a pastor! But each time I got down on being a minister, God would encourage me and steer me back into the work to which He has called me.
Now I am officially retired. But I am busy writing – blogs, articles, and working on three books, I teach two Bible studies, I preach in different churches as needed almost every Sunday, and I serve in my home church, Olive Branch Baptist, as an active member and a deacon. Having “been there and done that,” my wife and I can be a great support to our pastor and his family.
○ What are the qualifications of a pastor? From our scripture in Titus (see also I Timothy 3:1-7) there are about 20 qualifications for a pastor that Paul lists (the following definitions are taken from Strong’s A Concise Dictionary Of The Words In The Greek New Testament):
1. Titus 1:6 – “…if a man is blameless….” Blameless – “unaccused, i.e. (by implication) irreproachable….” This certainly does not mean that a pastor is perfect in thought, word and deed! But when he is wrong, or when he does fall into sin, he quickly confesses that failing and, with God’s help, gets back on track where he should be, and determines not to do it again. In so doing, he sets the example of confession, repentance and restoration for his flock.
2. Titus 1:6 – “…if a man is…the husband of one wife….” I do not believe that someone who has gone through divorce is automatically excluded forever from serving as a pastor. For there are reasons in the scripture for what I call “a righteous divorce” (see Matthew 5:32; 19:9). But this is a study for another blog or two. But a pastor should be faithful to his wife, keeping her as his only mate in thought, word and deed! This includes getting out and staying out of the all-too-common addiction to pornography! Remember, Jesus plainly said in Matthew 5:28, “…whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
We will continue studying the qualifications of a pastor in the next couple of blogs.