by Pastor Lee Hemen
May 16, 2008
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17)
Pastors and their families live in a fish bowl where Church members often scrutinize everything from their leaders’ socks to their children’s behavior. Yet there are many pastors that remain untouchable, aloof, and separated from the congregation they are supposed to serve. The word for “pastor” is derived from that of a shepherd. The sheep are to hear and know their leader’s voice. He is to be among his sheep. Many pastors remain on call day and night, they carry burdens and secrets they cannot tell anyone, and they often do so with grace and compassion. Churches far too often take advantage of a pastor’s availability and misuse his servant heart. They should be ashamed of their ungodly behavior. If you were to take a serious look at the compensation levels of pastors and contrast them to the compensation levels of other professionals, many pastors live a sacrificial lifestyle! This should not be! While other pastors take advantage of their congregations and use them as “stepping stones” to other more “important” denominational or higher paying jobs. The job of pastor has received both praise and condemnation in our day and age. Why? Because churches fail to be the churches they should be.
Paul encouraged Timothy to lead the church in honoring pastors who work hard. What a difference it makes when a church appropriately honors its pastor and staff! Such honor can be given in various ways, including the provision of an ample honorarium. But when a pastor needs to be disciplined, often churches are so embarrassed, because often they were the ones who pick him in the first place, they do not do the godly thing and resort to foolishness instead. Paul gives us four guidelines to consider: First, “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.” Make sure that when you accuse a servant of God that you chose to be your leader in the first place is doing something wrong, you had better have witnesses to back your accusation up! Secondly, “Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.” If the pastor is guilty of doing something evil enough to be rebuked, do it publicly. You elected him publicly and shouted to the heavens he was “God’s man” for your church, now rebuke him publicly as well. But do it with grace and mercy, always looking for redemption. And thirdly, Paul says do not hold favoritism above spiritually doing the righteous thing: “I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.” Picking pastors or rebuking them should not be done like a popularity contest. And finally, help you pastor and church to “not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:19-22) Too many churches are quick to pick pastors, deacons, or elders that are not morally, spiritually, ethically, or familially qualified. All of the members of the church of Christ, His body, should “keep yourself pure.”
Dear child of the Lord, today pray that your pastor is taken care of appropriately. Pray for him daily and provide for his needs. Come alongside of him and expect noting more from him that you would not require of any leader of the Lord. He is not a spiritual superman, but a human being called by God to minister to you.
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.