As I surf the web, receive emails from ministries and scan Twitter, I am absolutely amazed at the negativity and insinuations made about pastors today. Many writers and ministries take the view that pastors are egotists, toxic, immoral, liars or you name it.
Well, I donâ€™t buy it!
I believe in pastors. To the skeptic, give pastors a break. To the critic, pastors are but men. To the cynic, pastors are not what you think.
I have never met a perfect pastor.
I have never met a pastor who claims to be perfect. Yes, pastors are but men, just like the apostle Paul claimed before everyone. Therefore, as pastors, we disappoint others at times and do not live up to their expectations. Pastors do not claim to be, and are not supposed to be, perfect.
I have had the privilege to preach in all kinds of places around this country, from churches to conferences to major conventions where pastors are the major audience. I'll say it again: I have never met one pastor who claims to be perfect. Not one!
Why Do I Believe in Pastors?
There are three reasons I believe in pastors. Perhaps this will encourage you in some way.
1. Pastors are called by God to serve the church. A pastorâ€™s calling begins when a man believes God is calling him into the ministry of the gospel. Then there is a time where that man believes God is calling him to be a pastor of a local church. In Godâ€™s timing, he is called to serve a particular local church.
When a man is called of God, he is set apart by God to do a specific service to God in a local church. His high calling as pastor/teacher of a local fellowship calls him to high scriptural qualifications. But he must always remember he is there to serve Godâ€™s people by enlisting, equipping and empowering them to serve the Lord through His church.
I believe pastors must give themselves to the three major priorities of:
- Feeding Godâ€™s people through the preaching of the Word of God
- Leading Godâ€™s people to advance the gospel globally
- Interceding for Godâ€™s people continually
Yes, without any doubt at all, pastors are called by God to serve the church of Jesus Christ. This is one of the reasons I believe in pastors.
2. The office of the pastor is a holy office. The Scripture sets apart the office of the pastor/teacher. Specific qualifications are laid out in the Scriptures relating to this office. While men come and go, the office of the pastor remains. Regardless of the man who serves presently or the men who will follow him, it is the office that deserves our commitment.
God has ordained the office of the pastor/teacher to have a spiritual leader in it who leads Godâ€™s people into the likeness of Jesus Christ. From his role as servant and leader, he is to lead with humility, grace and dignity. He is both responsible and accountable for the spiritual development of the church, the people of God.
Some believe pastors should not be honored at all and that when you honor them, it is bad for the church. I have a great Arkansas word for that: Hogwash! It is not about honoring the man but the office. Yet at the same time, letâ€™s not forget what the Bible teaches: Honor those where honor is due. One also cannot deny what Hebrews 13:17-18 says:
â€śObey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.â€ť
We love and honor pastors because they are called by God to serve the church, and they do so from an office that is set apart by God in the Scripture. This is another reason I believe in pastors.
3. Pastors are giving their lives to make a difference. Whether a pastor is bivocational or able to serve a church full-time, and whether a pastor leads a small membership church or a large membership church, I have never, and I mean never, met a pastor who did not want his life to count greatly for God. Oh yes, a few may have lost their spark due to the trials of life or the torrential waters of local church ministry, but the vast, vast majority are men who want to make a difference with their lives.
Many could do high and great things in the world, but they could not get away from the powerful call of God. In fact, even though they honor the office of the president of the United States, most believe it would be a step down from their God-ordained calling, serving as a local church pastor, for them to serve as president.
I love and believe in pastors because they are giving their lives to make a difference for the gospel of Jesus Christ. The vast majority of these men of God are highly committed to advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yes, I have been clear: I believe in pastors. The question now is: Will you?
If you are a pastor, believe in other pastors. Encourage them. Love them. Accept them. Refuse to criticize them. Humble yourself to learn from them. Learn to rejoice with them. Weep with them. Pastors need other pastors as friendsâ€”personal friends, not just colleagues.
If you are a church member, love your pastor. Accept your pastor. Pray for your pastor. Encourage your pastor. Honor your pastor. Stand with your pastor.
My prayer is that we will all take a breath. Give each other a break. Refuse to get in the skeptic/critic/cynic lane of traffic relating to leaders today, even pastors.
A final word of counsel: Always take the high road in your relationships in life. There is never a traffic jam there.
Dr. Ronnie Floyd has been a pastor for over 36 years. Since 1986, Pastor Floyd has served as senior pastor of Cross Church, Northwest Arkansas, which has baptized over 17,000 people during his tenure. Cross Church was one of the first churches in America to go multisite. Pastor Floyd has authored 20 books, including Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.