Having been in the ministry for over 30 years, I’ve seen my share of great pastors. Some who can preach and it’s as if you hear the voice of God. Some whose teaching makes everything you never understood about God suddenly become crystal clear. Some who have such a passion for mission work that they could talk you into going to the most Godforsaken places, literally, and look forward to the trip. Some who have a level of compassion that has you knowing that they truly bring the love of God via special delivery. Yes, I’ve met some who will be in the “hall of fame” for pastors. (I’m pretty sure it says somewhere in the Bible that there’s one in heaven – can’t think of the verse right now though . . .)
Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. I’ve met the stinkers, clunkers, scoundrels, and sociopaths. Thankfully, in my experience, there are far fewer of those than of the “Hall of Famers.”
Just like in every profession, there are some pastors who are in it for what they can get out of it. For some it’s power or influence. For other’s it’s gaining the trust of folks just to take advantage – and I’ve seen all kinds of advantage taking. I even known a couple who were in it for the money . . . I said a couple.
One Pastor I knew told the little old ladies of the church they should leave the money they wanted to give to the church when they died, to him; that way he would make sure it went for the purpose they truly desired and not have to trust some anonymous group of elders to fulfill their wishes. He’d fight those elders tooth and nail to make sure the money ended up in their favorite ministry.
Right . . .
Peter must have met some characters in his day too:
I have a special concern for you church leaders. I know what it’s like to be a leader, in on Christ’s sufferings as well as the coming glory. Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way. When God, who is the best shepherd of all, comes out in the open with his rule, he’ll see that you’ve done it right and commend you lavishly. 1 Peter 5:1-4 The Message
Most pastor types are good, honest servants of God with a heart for service and an immeasurable love for Jesus. Not all fall into that category, however. For regular church folk, the old adage, “buyer beware” applies to finding a church as well. Does the pastor pass Peter’s standards listed above? If so, count yourselves blessed and make sure you tell your pastor that you appreciate the service they offer to God and to your church. Tell them more often than you think is necessary!
If your pastor falls into the “Not Hall of Fame” group, there’s probably another church within driving distance where they have a pastor who does . . .
Pressing on toward the goal . . .