Elder David M. Green

"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." (1 Timothy 3:1).
    My previous article was on the subject of the pastor's responsibility to the church. Now we want to look at the responsibility the church has toward the pastor.  As with any relationship, both parties have a great responsibility.  For a church to properly function, the Pastor and the church both need to understand their roles.
    As I wrote in my last article, so I want to repeat it: The call to pastor one of the Lord's churches is the highest calling a man can have. It would be a step down for a man to leave the pastoral responsibilities to be the President of the USA.  I also want to say that it is better, much better, to Pastor one of the Lord's churches (though they be small in size) than to pastor one of the huge Protestant congregations.  I am sure they have a lot to offer their pastors - $500 suits, new cars, etc. but those churches are not of the Lord.  To pastor one of those churches would be a major step down from pastoring a true New Testament Baptist Church.

"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15).

"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:21).
    And adding to that statement, I would have to say that the local church is the greatest organization on the earth! It is the pillar and ground of the truth...We have been chosen to hold the truth and make sure it is spread from house to house, street to street, city to city, nation to nation, and continent to continent! It is the organization by which God has chosen to get honor and glory in.
    The fact that God has chosen there be a man to pastor his churches is evidenced in Scripture. Let us take a look to see what the church's responsibility is toward that man.

"Brethren, pray for us." (1 Thessalonians 5:25).   
    A simple statement: “Brethren, pray for us.” Yet, what powerful words these are! Pray for your pastor!

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." (Ephesians 6:18-20).   
    Pray that the Lord will bless the pastor so that he will be able to feed the flock properly. Preaching the Word of God is such a HUGE responsibility.  It might be compared to carrying a nuclear weapon - with the responsibilities that go with it - making sure that it is used properly, not abused, neglected, etc.  But handling the Word of God is much more than that!  But don't misunderstand me here, the rewards far outweigh anything else a man can do!

"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith." (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2).
    Again, we find the plea to pray for the Lord's men repeated here. Pastors and their families are often faced with peculiar difficulties, burdens, etc that come with the office. And why should that surprise us? The devil loves to attack the Lord's men and their families!

  1. Pray for your pastor that he may be used of the Lord in ways that would be pleasing to God.

  2. Pray that God will keep him from errors.

  3. Pray that the Lord will give him sermons that will be edifying to the church.

  4. Pray the Lord will give him physical and spiritual strength.....

  5. Pray that God will grant the Pastor boldness of speech, clarity of thought, and the anointing of the Holy Ghost.

  6. Pray he will not become discouraged or burned out.

  7. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Just pray for your pastor!

"And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves." (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
    The Lord has placed the pastor in a place of leadership. He is to lead well, work with the church, and admonish (or teach) the church that the Lord has placed him in. The church ought to have a love and respect for her pastor.  They ought to esteem him very highly.    That word esteem, according to Webster's 1828 dictionary means "To prize; to set a high value on; to regard with high reverence, respect, or friendship."  The Holy Spirit did not just say to esteem him, but to esteem him very highly!
    Remember the pastor is a man. He will  have some weakness somewhere. He might preach a bad sermon sometimes. He may say something wrong. He may forget to shake your hand at church.  Too often, after a while some people only focus on his problems, and that is all they talk about.  Some church members only listen to their Pastor so they can find something they disagree with.  This ought not to be.  This is not the way any church member should treat their pastor!  Love him because God has given him a HUGE responsibility. Love him because God has brought the church and the pastor together.   
    If the pastor labors in the Word of God, then he deserves the love, respect and esteem of the people he pastors.

"Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;" (1 Timothy 5:1).

"Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses." (1 Timothy 5:19).
    I'll never understand the way some churches treat their pastors – always whispering behind his back, jumping him for every little thing, never showing him the love and respect he deserves. What a sad thing this is!  There are way too many whispering campaigns against the Lord's men today!  It's bad enough that the devil does it, how worse it is when the members of the Lord's churches do it!   And what makes matters worse is these church members will go to people outside of the church with their gossip.  Folks, it is no wonder the world mocks us!  More damage is done that way than can be imagined.

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." (1 Timothy 5:17).   
    The elders that rule well are worthy of double honour! Think about how you should treat the President of the USA....the pastor ought to be treated double that. This could also be taken to mean that a church member should be twice as reluctant to disagree with the Pastor, than with any other person. And a church member should be twice as ready to defend the Pastor as he would defend his dearest relative!

"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1).
    The Pastor who is following the Lord by preaching the truth of God's Word ought to be followed. Now, we ought not to blindly follow any man, no matter how much we like him.  But the church who has a faithful and obedient man as their pastor deserves to be followed and obeyed.

"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." (Hebrews 13:7).

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for 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).
    Some misuse these verses to make a dictatorship out of the pastorate, but that is not what is being taught here. These verses teach that the man of God who is faithful to God's word & faithful to the watch care of the church ought to be obeyed.

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25).
    Attending the church services is the duty of all members, not just the pastor. Some folks show up to church every once in a while. We all need to be here every time the doors are open. You ought to be here for a host of reasons:

  1. Because God said to be here.

  2. Because we need to be here.

  3. To get encouraged and recharged.

  4. To worship the Lord.

    The church also has a responsibility to come because the pastor is God's man. And, as God's man, he is God's messenger. The message he has prepared for the service is a message from God. Listen when he preaches. You'll have time to trim your fingernails after church. You can talk to the person next to you later. You can read that fictional book you bought at Wal-Mart another time. Don't worry about what you are going to do  Sunday afternoon...listen to the message the Lord has given His man!

"Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." (1 Corinthians 9:7-14).
    A pastor ought not to become a pastor for the money. That being said, the church has a responsibility to support their pastor financially. There is a benefit both for the church and the pastor in doing this. The more the church is able to support him, the less he will be concerned with physical things. Let me tell you from experience, when a man works full time in a secular job and then tries to work full time for the Lord, something suffers: either the secular job or the church, but usually both. Add to that the Pastor's family and they suffer too.

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward." (1 Timothy 5:17-18).
    The man of God needs to be counted worthy enough to be supported financially. This is in the best interest of the church. I know, not all churches can support their pastor's full time. That's ok – as long as the church is doing what she can then she will be blessed of God.

    The church has responsibilities to the pastor. Every pastor is different. If you expect a new pastor to be like a former pastor, you will have major disappointments.  Instead of expecting him to be a clone of former Pastor So-and-So, expect him to be the man God has sent your way!

    God has set expectations in His Word for both the Pastor and the church. May God help us to follow Him!