What the Bible says about pastors

A. A pastor must be called by God to preach.

Acts 10:42 (NKJV)
And He commanded us to preach to the people

B. God chose preaching as the means of delivering salvation.

1 Corinthians 1:21 (MEV)
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.

C. The pastor should be appreciated and respected because he delivers the saving gospel.

Romans 10:14-15 (NKJV)
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

D. A God called pastor must patiently convince, rebuke, encourage, and teach.

2 Timothy 4:2 (NKJV)
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

E. A pastor should not trust solely in his own abilities or oratory skills. He must rely on the power of the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 2:4 (NLT)
And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.

F. Pastors (shepherds) were referred to as elders out of respect for their service, position, and anointing. A pastor is called to be an overseer (bishop) of the church. He must serve from a willing heart. He should not abuse his authority, but rather he should be an example of Godly living and Christian character.

1 Peter 5:1-3 (NKJV)
The elders who are among you I exhort…Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,  not for dishonest gain but eagerly;  nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

G. The church is under the care of the pastor. As a shepherd leads a flock, a pastor is given authority to lead the church. As long as he continues in the faith and follows Christ, the saints are instructed to follow his lead, be submissive, and obey.

Hebrews 13:7, 17 (NKJV)
Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct…Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

H. Saints should not keep company with those that refuse to submit to God’s word and reject Spirit led preaching. However, the goal should always be restoration.

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 (NKJV)
And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother

I. A pastor, as a representative of Jesus Christ, must not be a fighter. He must be gentle even with those that oppose him.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NIV)
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will

J. Not everyone that seeks to be a pastor is qualified. A candidate must be an established and respected believer with the ability to teach. They must exhibit the fruits of the Spirit and conduct themselves in a Godly manner.

1 Timothy 3:1-7 (NKJV)
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;  one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);  not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Titus 1:6-9 (NIV)
An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

K. Pastors that are faithful should receive honor and payment for their work. They should be assumed innocent of wrong doing unless they are accused by multiple witnesses. However, if they are found to be guilty, they should not be shown favoritism. In fact since they are to be examples to the church, their correction and rebuke should be done openly to teach and warn the church about the dangers of sin. Because of the far reaching impact of a preacher falling from grace, we should be careful that we only anoint and appoint ministers that are called and ready.

1 Timothy 5:17-22 (NLT)
Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!” Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses. Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others. I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone. Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.