(by Pastor Alexander Thomas)

Our Lord Jesus was a leader with followers, even though He spoke of Himself as One who came to serve rather than to be served (Mark 10:45). He called a select group to Himself for training and preparation of “make disciples” after His departure (Matt. 28:18-20). Thus, Jesus selected and trained men to become leaders, even though He defined leadership for His disciples in contrast to the Gentile world (Mark 10:42-44). In the early Christian mission, leaders were appointed to oversee local churches (Acts 14:23; 20:17-38). Other roles of responsibility are seen in Acts 6 and 15. Christ is viewed as the “Head” of the church, to whom He has given gifted individuals to lead and serve the church with the goals of ministry, unity, and maturity (Eph. 4:11-16; Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12-14).

1. Pastoral qualifications
1 Timothy 3:1-7. The list of sixteen qualifications begins with the word “blameless” (NKJV).

2. A High Calling
To be a pastor is more than fulfilling a job, it a high calling. Think of it out of more than six billion people on earth, you were called by the God of heaven and God is using you to accomplish His purpose.

3. Great pastors don’t care who gets the credit as long as the job gets done
A pastor who is always looking for credit will soon be a solo performer. No team will follow a truly selfish leader. The team may establish a good work and perform well, but unless the members respect their leader, it will not excel.

4. Great pastors are willing to put the mission ahead of their personal agenda
The purpose, mission, and objectives of the organization are paramount, while the personality and personal achievements of the leader are secondary.

5. Great pastors are quick to forgive
Jesus modeled the greatest leadership. Whether addressing the city that rejected Him, the woman caught in adultery, or the thief on the cross who finally acknowledged Him, the heart of the great pastor was a heart of compassion and mercy. Little people hold grudges: big people forgive and forget.

6. Great pastors are energized by the achievements of others
Pastors must realize that they themselves can never accomplish all they dream of, others also must carry out their vision.

7. Great pastors freely give to those who deserve it most.
Appreciation is one of the great motivators, often more than promotions and pay raises.

8. When a pastor leaves a church, he should do so with love and grace, not with hatred and bitterness. 
No matter what the circumstances of his leaving. But what if you are being forced out? Remember the words of Jesus, “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him” (John 1:11). If people rejected Him, why should we be surprised if they reject us?

9. Pastoral ministry is a calling and not a profession
A pastor should allow only one church at a time to consider him as pastor. If he violates this rule, he may find himself comparing one church with another rather than seeking God’s will regarding the move.

10. The call to preach is a call to prepare
If a man have the opportunity to go to seminary and does not take it, he has put a limit on his ministry. Treat education as an ethical obligation. A pastor works, cries, prays, counsels, studies, preaches and strives for excellence.

11. The pastor must not be a hireling
The pastor must not be controlled by any one person or any one group in the church. By protecting his own autonomy the pastor also protects the autonomy of the church.

12. It is unethical to use the pulpit to attack those who disagree with the way you are leading the church, even if you do not use their names.
The pulpit is where the Bible should be preached and where the people of God should be encouraged. It is not a place where attacks are launched against others. One rule on this is Bible truth has to be preached regardless of who agree with you or not, in my (Alexander Thomas) pastoral ministry once I was preaching from John chapter 4, one confronted me that I called her a “sinner”. “This is true of us all” was my answer.

13. Pastors need to remember that they are called first to serve the Lord and then serve the church.
The first part has to do primarily with the spiritual, and the second part primarily with the practical. Pastorate is hard work, and the pastor should work hard. Just like in life, pastoral ministry has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Finishing is as important as beginning. How you finish is often the way you will be remembered.

14. Pastor and his prayer life
In our public life we are men of prayer. But what about in our private lives? Are we men of prayer then? The public occasions can be mere performance. The private times demonstrate whether we are men of spiritual integrity. Prayer is an acknowledgment that we are needy individuals. And it reflects our genuine love and concern for our flock as we labor in prayer for their spiritual good.

15. Admitting mistakes
At times we say things that we learn later are incorrect. There are times when our judgment is poor. At times our reactions will be purely emotional and improper. Mistakes are part of the human predicament. The point is, at times we are going to be wrong, and we need to be humble enough to admit it, make the correction, and move on. When we do, Our members will usually be very forgiving and ready to support us in our new direction. Members appreciate leaders who will acknowledge their humanness and those who are willing to ask to be forgiven.

16. Pastor and his pulpit
When people sleep in church maybe it’s the preacher we should wake up. Something of the quality of enthusiasm must be in every man who preaches. He who lacks it cannot be a preacher. Some preachers ought to put more fire into their sermons or more sermons into the fire.

17. Pastors, be fair with your congregation
We must encourage and help our members have the time it takes to properly raise their families. Let’s not overload them with guilt if they cannot take on another project. Rather, we should encourage them to make and keep their families their number one priority.

18. “I’ll Pray for You” Do Not Promise It Unless You Mean It
Pastors get so many requests to pray for people that it is very easy to promise to do so and then forget what we have promised. And that is wrong. Our yes must be yes, and our no must be no. We must be men of the Word, men of prayer, and men of our word. If we have told someone we will pray for his or her requests, we must do so.

19. Fear of the Congregation
Our eyes should never be on the size of our church, the success of our programs, our budget, our salaries, but on speaking the truth of our Lord. Our concern must be the repentance, salvation, and spiritual growth of our hearers. To fear men is to hold God’s Word up for contempt, to fear God is to speak His message truthfully and faithfully. Though the truth may sometimes hurt, it must always be told in love.

20. Standing alone, and sometimes we may be very alone
In our day, pastors must at times stand boldly on crucial issues, and doing so may isolate us. It is not popular to speak out strongly on issues such as abortion, homosexuality, church discipline, mixed marriages of believers with unbelievers, false teachers, false miracles, or the total inspiration and reliability of the Word of God. When we do, it can be very lonely. But we must constantly remember whom we are to please. Christ is our Master. The church is His. He gave His truth to His body. He died for her. We cannot for a moment change His Word, alter His plans for His church, or allow practices in His church that He condemns. We may find ourselves alone with respect to others, but if we are faithful to Christ we are never alone. His approval, His blessing must be our goal.

“Those who faithfully expose themselves for God are sure to be taken under His special protection, and shall be hidden from the rage of men, either under heaven or in heaven.” The martyrs for Christ are hidden “in heaven” from the rage of men on earth (Matthew Henry).