Eph. 4:8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
Eph. 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, …
One of the greatest gifts that Jesus gives us to grow us up and help us become the man or woman of God He called us to be is the gift of a pastor. Here in Ephesians Paul is telling us about the gifts that Jesus gave to the body of Christ as He ascended into heaven. They are what we call the five-fold ministry gifts. Of those five gifts the one that is called to speak into your life each and every week is the gift of a pastor. What many believers don’t know is that you don’t need to find a church to attend; you need to find the shepherd, the gift of a pastor that Jesus gave you.
To deny the need for a pastor is to reject one of the most valuable gifts Jesus gave to the body of Christ. I hear many Christians who say they don’t need to go to church, but in fact by making such a statement you are going against what God has provided for you. Every believer who sits at home each and every Sunday thinking they don’t need a shepherd, they are rejecting a gift that Jesus provided for their life. Once you find the pastor not the church that Jesus has for you, you must then realize satan will do everything he can to tear you away from that gift. Why? Because that pastor has a gift on their life that Jesus imparted to them to speak into your life and help you become a powerful believer in Christ.
For anyone who thinks that finding a shepherd and being a part of a local body is not important, they have chosen to live life on their terms and reject something that God provided for us all to be a part of. This week I want to share with you from my pastor Dr. Mark T. Barclay’s book seven powerful truths about how to relate to your pastor. You can buy a copy here: “How To Relate To Your Pastor”. Learning to do so will help you get all God has out of this gift for your life.
1. RECEIVE YOUR PASTOR AS A GIFT FROM GOD
As I have already been sharing with you not recognizing your pastor as a gift, but only looking to him as just another believer means you won’t receive what he has to add to your life. No pastor is any better than any other believer. We are all created the same, but we do not all have the same gifts and callings. When Jesus came to His own hometown He could only heal a few sick people because they did not respect the gift that God has sent to them. When we don’t recognize our pastor as a gift from God, we to are not fully receiving all of what we should, and it is that much easier for the devil to pull you away from this gift from God. But if you recognize who your pastor is and you then receive them as a gift from Jesus, you won’t allow the devil to take this gift away from you by leading you away. If you want to be blessed by the Lord, you must receive your pastor as a gift from God.
2. GET TO KNOW YOUR PASTOR
1 Th. 5:12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, …
The second key in relating to your pastor is to get to know them. The word “recognize” here is actually translated to get to know. In getting to know your pastor you are simply learning from their example. Paul himself said imitate me as I imitate Christ. You don’t have to spend personal time with your pastor to do this. You can do so by listening carefully as they teach in how they apply God’s Word to their life for they are to set an example for you. You can get to know them by attending special meetings they do, not just regular services. One of the best opportunities in getting to know your pastor is staying up with these other opportunities to come and learn and glean from them. Your pastor should live what he preaches and as you get to know him it will help you to follow Christ.
3. ESTEEM HIM HIGHLY IN LOVE
1 Th. 5:13 We ask you to love them and think very highly of them because of the work they are doing.
To esteem your pastor highly does not mean to worship him nor put him on a pedestal, but to honor them for the work they do. Their work is you. They work to help you grow with God, learn how to walk in the light of God’s kingdom, and learn how to become a part of God’s work on earth. When you no longer esteem them highly you will not honor this gift Christ has given you. If you love your pastor then you will show the same unconditional love toward him that God has shown you. When you honor God’s gifts given to you it is always going to be to your benefit.
4. PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR
2 Th. 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,
2 Th. 3:2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.
Why should we pray for our pastors, so that the Word of the Lord my run swiftly and therefore have not only a greater impact on our lives, but on the lives of others as well. When a pastor has a church family that knows how to pray effectively and they are praying for their pastor, they are going to have a much more powerful impact on their church family and the world. Pray they are delivered from unreasonable and wicked men who don’t have faith. They will only be a pawn of the enemy to hinder the work your pastor does. Every pastor knows it takes the whole body of Christ to accomplish what God has called us to do and walk in the victory He has for us. That is why your pastor prays for you and so should we pray for our pastors.
5. CONTRIBUTE TO HIS SUPPORT
Gal. 6:6 Let him who receives instruction in the Word [of God] share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his support].
For years the devil has done everything he can to try and keep ministers poor. There are unfortunately those who have used the ministry as a means of personal gain, which Paul warned us about, but that does not mean we should just take from our pastor’s and do nothing to provide for them. It is a sad statistic today that only 2.8 percent of Christians tithe. Going to church and being blessed by what God has given your pastor to help you be a disciple of Christ and not honoring God’s Word by giving to the work he does would be like going to your grocery store, loading up your cart, but not expecting to pay for anything. Not contributing to your pastor’s support is hurting you more than it hurts him. As you give Jesus said it would then be given to you. You reap what you sow. You sow only to your flesh you reap corruption, but when you sow to your spiritual development you reap life.
6. FOLLOW YOUR PASTOR
Heb. 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Your pastor is an example of faith and patience, which is how we obtain God’s promises. How often do you see your pastor missing church? When there are corporate prayer times at church follow his example go and pray with him. A pastor who is walking in obedience to God does not do these things because he has to, but because he has learned what faith and patience are all about. We are to walk by faith not by our carnal fleshly desires, and following our pastor will help us to do so.
7. OBEY YOUR PASTOR’S TEACHINGS
1 Cor. 11:2 I am so glad, dear friends, that you always keep me in your thoughts and you are following the Christian teaching I passed on to you.
As your pastor teaches the Word of God you should apply what you are being taught because as they hear from God and preach the Word, you are going to be blessed. James tells us that those who are not just hearers of the Word but doers, they will be blessed in what they do. You should not just come to church as a religious duty to think you “paid your dues” for the week. You should come with a heart to know God better and apply everything you are learning. Church is not a place to just hear sermons it is a place to connect with God, grow as a disciple of Christ as you apply what you are taught, and become a part of the work God is doing in the earth.
When you learn how to relate properly to your pastor you are going to grow in God and see God work in your life. Without a shepherd scripture teaches you will in fact remain a baby Christian, immature, and tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Having a shepherd is not watching your favorite preacher on T.V., but being connected with that gift Christ has given you. Saying you don’t need a pastor is telling Jesus you don’t want this very valuable gift God has given to you. In John 10 we are told how to find our pastor. We will know when we hear his voice. Our spirit will bear witness with us when we find that gift Jesus has for our life. Through that gift the Lord will help us to grow, mature, and become a disciple of Christ.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker