Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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The Greatest Pastor In America

  • Jim Townsley
  • Sep 6, 2017

Recently a pastoral friend stated to my wife that he thought I was the greatest pastor in America. In addition, only days apart an evangelist said he would trust me with all his possessions, even his family. Those statements were flattering, but it caused me to think about the importance of the pastor’s reputation. The office of the pastor is a high and holy calling and we should recognize the high standard to which we are to live.

Is there such a thing as the greatest pastor in America? Is it fair to even compare one pastor with another? For starters let me be clear that the greatest pastor in America should be your pastor where you are a member. I am a pastor to my flock and you are pastor to your flock. I am not expected to minister to your church family and you are not expected to minister to my church family. Indeed the greatest pastor in America should be you, at least to your members.  It is sobering to recognize the great responsibility each one of us has. Consider the scope of your leadership:

  • You are the only pastor that can comfort your members in times of trial.
  • You are the pastor who will give godly counsel to those in need of direction.
  • You will marry the young people of your church.
  • You will conduct the funerals for your church family.
  • Your preaching and influence will affect many people’s lives.

Preachers wear many hats and their impact can be enormous. Paul said, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” – 1 Corinthians 9:22  God will be the judge of who has been the most effective preacher and in heaven many will be surprised that a relatively unknown man at a country cross road who never missed the mark and proved his faithfulness for many years will receive the most rewards. We must not compare ourselves with other preachers but with Christ Himself. Our goal is to be like Him!

There are a few requirements that are necessary for a pastor to be successful. If a preacher is to be great he must be qualified. First, a pastor should be a man. There are many faithful women in our churches and without their faithful service our churches would be far less effective. However, it is not the role of women to be a pastor. Paul writing to Timothy made it clear that pastoring is for men. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” -- 1 Timothy 2:9-13 Notice the reference to Adam and Eve. This requirement was more than a cultural issue of the time but a principle spanning all the way back to Adam and Eve.

Secondly, the pastor and his family must be an example to the church.  “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;  5  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?”--  1 Timothy 3:4-5  He and his family must set an example to the rest of the members.
Also, the pastor is required to watch for men’s souls. “ they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. -- Hebrews 13:17. All of his duties he must do without regard for money.

Perhaps the most obvious role of the pastor is to preach the Word of God. In the course of a long pastorate a preacher will preach thousands of sermons. His preaching identifies him as a man of the Word. This deeply spiritual task involves meeting with God as He reveals the truths of the Bible to feed to the sheep. The pastor is considered a shepherd which means he is to feed the flock, care for the sick and protect them from the enemy.

There are times that the office of the pastor seems more like the position of a janitor or a servant. There are demands in many ministries that require the pastor to clean the church and repair things that are broken. But, the primary role should be that of prayer and the ministry of the Word. “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” -- Acts 6:4

A pastor called to a church must remember that he must not lord over the people. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” – 1 Peter 5:2-3

The members of the church have many responsibilities to the pastor, but the pastor must remember his service is not contingent upon what the members do. He must be faithful regardless of the response of the church family. The office of the pastor is a high and holy calling. It is more than a job or occupation. Preachers must realize the great responsibility they have as a pastor of a church.
 
With a Heart for God,

Jim Townsley