Bible Question:

Should the pastor be a leader? Should he not be caring and compassionate? I feel our pastor is using the pastor/teaching spiritual gift as an excuse to not do anything else. Should he not be approachable in all times of distress? Please help us. Our church is in trouble. We are on a spiritual diet even though he preaches a tremendous sermon and obviously spends large amounts of time in preparation. The Deacons have been extremely supportive and the congregation has taken on a lot of leadership. I do not feel that God is with us during our services. Something is wrong. We have hired the pastor's wife as an Associate Pastor and appointed a female junior deaconess. What can be done, if anything? I am losing sight of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit over these issues. We need biblical answers.

Bible Answer:

Here is a list of previous questions and answers which you may want to read before reading our response below. The questions will give you a better understanding of the biblical teaching about church leadership: the role, responsibilities, and qualifications of leaders in the church.

TopicMain passage
What does the Bible say about a woman’s role in the church? – Download: Role of Women In The Church  Variety of Passages
Is there a difference between a church leader and a spiritual leader in the church? – What defines a church leader as spiritual?Matt. 20:25-27
Our pastor is a woman. She claims that God called her to be a pastor. – How should we as members deal with this situation?Variety of Passages
Do pastors intentionally set out to deceive people? – Is this how cults start?2 Tim. 3:13 Acts 20:29-30
What is the Biblical stand on a woman pastor and her submission to her husband?– We have a woman pastor who checks with her husband before making decisions affecting the church.Eph. 5:21-22 1 Tim. 2:12
Should the institutional church exist? – How should a church be organized? What kind of leaders should a church have?Variety of Passages
What are the pastor’s duties to a church? – Where are these duties described in the New Testament?Variety of Passages
How do I know which church to attend? – Can you give me some guidelines?Various Passages
How should I go about teaching my congregation about church leadership? – Could you provide some guidelines? Download: God’s Design Church Various Passages
What are the qualifications of an elder? – How can we know God’s leaders?1 Tim. 3:1-8 Titus 1:5-9
What is real church? – I am struggling.Various Passages
Who are the elders? – Are they pastors?Titus 1:5, 7 Acts 20:17, 28

Greatest Passion

The great passion of any pastor’s heart should be the care of the people whom God has given him to shepherd – to care for. But the greatest passion should be to more and more love and know Jesus intimately. The ministry of any pastor or church leader should come out of the overflow of his relationship with Jesus. That was the message Jesus gave to Peter before He returned to heaven. Jesus repeatedly asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” Each time Peter said yes and Jesus asked him to care for His flock – the church. Each time Jesus made it clear that a relationship with Him comes first, then comes the ministry for His flock. Jesus was not talking about a passive relationship. Each time He asked, “Do you love Me?”

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”

He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (NASB) John 21:15-17

Many pastors have a great desire and passion to care for people. This pleases God. We can see this in the command from the Apostle Peter to church leaders:

. . . shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness . . . (NASB) 1 Peter 5:2

God wants His church leaders to willingly, voluntarily, compassionately care for His people in the local church according to His will. Some pastors have grown weary in the ministry, and their zeal and passion are gone. This can happen when their relationship with God is wrong. When their relationship with God becomes a duty, it means that their desire for a close, personal, intimate relationship with God has significantly disappeared. This is true of any Christian. As a result, they are not really seeking to love and know Him. A man may preach and teach the need for an intimate relationship with God even while it is missing in his own life. The passion for ministry and for others will occur when a man or woman is constantly seeking to love and know God. How can a person love God and not love others? God’s great passion is that we will seek Him always. Here is the passion for ministry.

Next Priority

Your pastor’s next passion should be the teaching of God’s Word. Such a passion and commitment pleases our Lord. This is the mark of a true shepherd. There are many pastors today who do not want to teach the Word of God verse-by-verse. It is hard for many not to seek the approval of the congregation. This often affects the type of sermons they give. God has warned pastors and leaders that people will not want what is good for them. Listen to God.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires . . . (NASB) 2 Timothy 4:3

The mark of a faithful pastor is one who faithfully teaches scripture verse-by-verse. When a pastor preaches topically, the congregation will not be taught the entire Word of God. It will not happen. Usually the pastor repeats his favorite topics in different ways. He is like a broken record. How many congregations have been taught the Bible from Genesis to Revelation? There is so much scripture that it would take a life time for a congregation to learn all of scripture. Each book will reveal something new about God. Would you like to learn it all?

Conclusion:

Let me encourage you to start by praying for your pastor, ask to meet with him, and then discuss your concerns with him. You may discover that your pastor has a great passion for Jesus and that he sees his expression of love to the congregation to be his teaching. It is important to remember that many people have different ideas about what a pastor should be doing. The real question is what are the biblical responsibilities for a pastor. The priority responsibilities of a pastor are the Word of God and prayer. His priority is not visitation, evangelism, spending social times with the congregation, or spending time with everyone. The other elders, deacons, and church members should be helping to meet the needs of the members in distress. God never intended for one man or a few men to do it all. His love for Jesus comes first, and then his teaching and preaching. If you still have concerns, you might want to encourage him to read this response to your question and direct him to some of the articles listed above as well as God’s Great Passion.”