Do You Know Your Pastor?

paul tripp

How well do you know your pastor? I don't mean where he went to seminary and what his weekly schedule looks like. How well do you KNOW your pastor. I'm afraid that many times, we don't actually look after the soul of the man leading our church; we ask too few questions and make too many assumptions.

I've written about this many times, and I cover it again in the video below, but pastoral ministry is never shaped solely by knowledge, skill, ministry philosophy, and experience. It's always shaped by the condition of the pastors heart. And if we, as the body of Christ, aren't intentionally pursuing the heart of our pastor, how can we expect him to be in a healthy spiritual position?

Here is a video excerpt about this subject that I recorded with DesiringGod, along with a list of 27 questions that go below the superficial ministry jargon knowledge, skill, ministry philosophy, and experience.

1. What does he really love, and what does he despise?
2. What are his hopes, dreams, and fears?
3. What are the deep desires that fuel and shape the way he does ministry?
4. What anxieties have the potential to derail or paralyze him?
5. How accurate is his view of himself?
6. How open is he to confrontation, critique, and encouragement?
7. How committed is he to his own sanctification?
8. How open is he about his own temptations, weaknesses, and failures?
9. How ready is he to listen to and defer to the wisdom of others?
10. Is pastoral ministry a community project to him?
11. Does he have a tender, nurturing heart?
12. Is he warm and hospitable, a shepherd and champion to those who're suffering?
13. What character qualities would his wife and children use to describe him?
14. Does he sit under his own preaching?
15. Is his heart broken and his conscience regularly grieved as he looks at himself in the mirror of the Word?
16. How robust, consistent, joyful, and vibrant is his devotional life?
17. Does his ministry to others flow out of the vibrancy of his devotional communion with the Lord?
18. Does he hold himself to high standards, or does he settle for mediocrity?
19. Is he sensitive to the experience and needs of those who minister alongside him?
20. Does he embody the love and grace of the Redeemer?
21. Does he overlook minor offenses?
22. Is he ready and willing to forgive?
23. Is he critical and judgmental?
24. How does the public pastor differ from the private husband and dad?
25. Does he take care of his physical self?
26. Does he numb himself with too much social media or television?
27. How would he fill in this blank: "If only I had ________"?
28. How successful has he been in pastoring the congregation that's his family?

Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and works to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. This vision has led Paul to write 13 books on Christian living and travel around the world preaching and teaching. Paul's driving passion is to help people understand how the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks with practical hope into all the things people face in this broken world. For more resources, visit

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