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October is Clergy Appreciation Month, a time when Christians are encouraged to express gratitude to their pastors, ministers and leaders.
But the subject gives rise to a question:
What makes a pastor a leader you can trust and follow and ultimately appreciate, not just every October but the other eleven months of the year?
I'm sure we all have our "non-negotiable" characteristics. I've come up with a list of five things (based on Scriptures found in Titus and 1 Timothy 3) that I think Christians may want to look for in a pastor. I feel very blessed to know that the pastors I've had the privilege of sitting under through the years all possessed these qualities.
1. Boldly teaches God's Word
Being a capable public speaker is important, but even more than that, a good pastor is concerned about teaching his congregation solid doctrine. He teaches "all Scripture" – that is, he doesn't skip over the tough or unpopular verses in the Bible. His commitment to truth is evident.
2. Serves people
Loving and taking care of people – both saved and unsaved – is a hallmark of a good pastor. The pastor reaches out to the lost, and tends to his flock within the church. This concern is evident in his hospitality towards others and his work as a peacemaker.
3. Leads with both strength and humility
Every pastor regularly faces challenges in his role. It's important in those times that he leads with strength, wisdom and conviction. He must also exemplify humility, just as Jesus did.
4. Upright in his own life
A pastor's ability to lead starts with himself – he has to be a man of personal integrity, "above reproach." This includes all areas – trustworthy with money, free from vices such as drunkenness, and not prone to an ill-temper. In short, a good pastor lives a holy and disciplined life.
5. A good family man
If married, a pastor should be a faithful husband and an effective father. Even amidst all the demands placed on a pastor by his church, he still must give high priority to his wife and children.
What would you add to this list?
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