What do all businesses, schools, non-profits, and churches have in common? They all have leaders. Leaders are important. They are the ones who determine the vision and set the direction for the future. They are also the ones making sure everyone is equipped to play their part in the organization. Without leaders, organizations flail. They meander around until they disappear. Good leaders are important.
This is especially true in the church. The last thing God wants is for a church to simply meander around until it dies off. He wants His church to accomplish His mission. And He provides leaders to do help towards that end.
But God doesn’t just provide any old leader. He provides men who not only meet certain qualifications, but view their position in a certain way. So, how should a pastor view his position?
(1) A leader in the church must see himself as an overseer.
'Overseer' is not just a term I am manufacturing. It’s a term Paul uses in Titus 3:1 when he says:
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.”
One of my friends from seminary contacted me no too long ago. He is not only a pastor, but is also a financial advisor. That’s what he contacted me about. He wanted to see if I would be interested in using his services.
As a financial advisor, it is his job to serve families by watching over and caring for their finances. In a similar way, that is what a pastor does, except he is watching over souls instead of money.
Anyone who wants to be a leader in the church must see himself as an overseer because that is exactly what his is doing. He is overseeing the people God has placed under his care.
In that role, an overseer, a pastor, an elder - whatever you want to call them, all those names are interchangeable - is responsible for watching over the church’s doctrine, practice, people, and vision. They do that by teaching, training, equipping, discipling, protecting, leading, and comforting those in the church. That is the general job of an overseer.
(2) A leader in the church must view the office of overseer as a high calling that involves sacrifice and a passion for the task
It’s a High Calling
While being a pastor does come with some form of compensation, the pastorate shouldn’t just be viewed as another way to pay the bills or earn some extra cash. It’s a ministry. It’s an opportunity to provide soul care and to shepherd God’s people. It’s a high calling.
It Involves Sacrifice
If you are someone who is going to take on the task of pastoring, you have to view it as a high calling and have a passion for the task, because serving the church requires sacrifice. Whether that be sacrificing time for your hobbies, the money you could make elsewhere, or emotional energy, the office of overseer requires sacrifice. If you don’t view the office as a high calling or you don’t have a passion for the task, you will struggle to provide sacrifice what is necessary in order to care for God’s people in a way that glorifies Him.
Do Anything Else
When I was in seminary and praying about the ministry, I spoke to several people who told me, “If you can do anything else, do it.” Their reason was simple: being a pastor requires a lot of sacrifice, effort, and emotional energy. If you are pursuing the office for the novelty of it, you aren’t going to be in it for long. Being a pastor must be a calling. A position you are drawn to by the Lord in addition to being something God has uniquely gifted you to do.
Don’t Make it a Practice to Sacrifice Family Time
Now, if you notice, I didn’t say a pastor has to be willing to sacrifice time with his family. I want to specifically point that out, because many ministers fail in this area. Family time is important and it must be guarded. Managing your household well is one of the qualifications that must be met in order to become a pastor. You can’t manage a household if you’re never there. So, a pastor shouldn’t be about the business of always sacrificing time with his family. Certainly, there will be times when that is needed, but that has to be the exception and not the rule.
Don’t Require Your Pastor to Sacrifice Family Time
On the flip side, churches shouldn’t require their pastors to sacrifice family time; instead, they should encourage it. Just as the pastor must view his family as his first church, the church has to view the pastor’s family as his first church too, and allow him to minister to them first.
In sum, should a man desire to be a leader in the church, he must not only see himself as an overseer, but he must also view the office of overseer as a high calling that involves sacrifice and a passion for the task.