Easily Spot Unqualified Pastoral Candidates
What are the Biblical Qualifications to Pastor
Nothing written in this small space will cover every possible qualification scenario to lead God’s People. Legions of books have been written on this subject but I found it interesting that none began with that most important: a “call” from God to do so! Assuming this is in place, there is something we must review before outlining the qualification in the Bible’s 1st Timothy 3.
Although you may have a desire to Pastor, is this God’s desire for you? The reality is even though you may be called to Preach the Gospel, leading His people at the local level is something different. Further, it must be said that being a Church Pastor is not the only call to serve God’s people! Please read the OTHER “calls” in Ephesians 4.
Nevertheless, here is what the Apostle Paul outlined in 1st Timothy 3 with respect to biblical qualifications to Pastor:
According to these passages, a pastor should be:
1. Above reproach: This means that the pastor should be a person of good character and reputation, with a clear conscience before God and others. 2. The husband of one wife: This qualification has been understood by many to mean that a pastor should be faithful in marriage and not be divorced. 3. Temperate: This means that the pastor should be self-controlled and not given to excess or excesses. 4. Sober-minded: This means that the pastor should be level-headed and not given to recklessness or impulsiveness. 5. Respectable: This means that the pastor should be well-respected in the community and should set a good example for others to follow. 6. Hospitable: This means that the pastor should be welcoming and gracious to others, especially strangers and those in need. 7. Able to teach: This means that the pastor should be knowledgeable about the Bible and able to explain it in a way that is understandable to others. 8. Not given to drunkenness: This means that the pastor should not be prone to excessive drinking or alcohol abuse. 9. Not violent or quarrelsome: This means that the pastor should not have a quick temper or a tendency to engage in physical altercations. 10. Gentle: This means that the pastor should be kind and considerate towards others, showing compassion and understanding. 11. Patient: This means that the pastor should be able to endure difficult circumstances and people with grace and longsuffering. 12. Not a lover of money: This means that the pastor should not be motivated by financial gain or material possessions, but rather by a desire to serve God and others. 13. A good manager of his household: This means that the pastor should be able to lead and manage his own family well, showing love and discipline in a balanced way. 14. Not a recent convert: This means that the pastor should have a track record of faith and service, and should not be a new believer who might be prone to spiritual immaturity or instability. 15. Well thought of by outsiders: This means that the pastor should have a good reputation in the community and be respected by those outside the church.
These are straight for the Holy Bible. Now that we know what a “God sent” leader is, let’s review those you should avoid or church destruction is near. Should you choose to hire one of these sorts, your church will be destroyed and a path of destruction is a guarantee.
Preparing for a Pastoral Interview
A preacher may know how to create powerful sermon outlines and preach the house down, but that hardly makes a Pastor. Church selection committees: you prepare by creating an extensive list of probing questions. Refrain form the tired and often printed lists on Google! These are a JOKE and those who God has not sent are skilled at navigating those questions. Dig deeper to discover who these people really are. Unqualified Pastors and church leaders slip through the net of scrutiny, biblical scrutiny, all too often.
Here are deep probing questions for the Pastoral Interview:
1. “Why are you here”? This is the most crucial question of all especially for candidates who are currently pastoring elsewhere. They are obviously unsatisfied with God’s current provision and will frame it like “God is leading me somewhere else.”
2. “Why should we believe this”? I know this seems “un-Christian”, but what is more so is being deceptive and not asking what needs asked! As a Pastor, who has been through the process, you need to lean into this during the process.
3. “Tell us about your wife”? You will never know who you are interviewing without also knowing his wife. Further, you are hiring a “couple” and not just your Pastor. This woman, my wife included, have more influence on ministry direction than any other living human. I am not suggesting the ungodly “co-Pastoring” model.
4. “Does your current congregation know you are here”? The answer, of course, will always be no. However, why is this person sneaking around behind the back of the people that, not so long ago, he believes God sent him to? What makes you think he won’t do the same to you? (Hint: sooner or later, for a bigger paycheck and congregation, THEY WILL!)
5. “What is your most often preached from Bible books”? This will assist in understanding who God called them to be (if called at all). Do not let them off the hook with a simple scripture or two either. By book selection, you will understand personality. For instance, my most preached lessons are from the Old Testament Prophets and John the Baptist mentions in the New Testament. My mission is to call ungodly leaders back to Jesus Christ so what better books to be drawn to? Those more “gentle” may prefer the Gospels, like John. That is the book of REAL SHEPHERDS!
Ask deep probing questions to any potential Pastor to discover who they really are. Next, stand on God’s Word and dismiss the wrong candidates from the process immediately. As a Pastor and insider, even pleasant and well-meaning preachers, not sent by God, are predators seeking prey! If they are manipulating the hiring process, will they change with Pastoral level authority?
Nevertheless, although it seems elementary, a new Pastor must be sent by God. Every candidate who applies truly believe they are “the one” Jesus sent to your church. A “God” sent shepherd will have eternally blessed impact on your congregation. Choosing wrong has the opposite effect and will result in your congregation being hurt in ways you cannot imagine.
Unqualified Pastoral Candidates Will Manipulate
It is the unqualified and therefore “unsent” pastoral candidates who must be weeded out early and aggressively. Through prayers of discernment on your part, they will reveal themselves. I was once privy to a situation where a church was searching for a Pastor. The founding Pastor, having led for many decades, went on to glory. He was old school, had little written down, yet was known as a sincere Man of God.
The church began the process to replace him yet had nothing explaining transitional planning, processes, or procedures to begin the process. One candidate attempted to manipulate the process early and often. He did such things as promising to work for a lessor amount of salary, disqualifying other candidates through “back room” antics and other ungodliness. All of this backfired and the church was insulted. If these sorts do such things early, post-hire, things will get much worse.
Here are consequences from hiring an unqualified Pastor:
1. They seem overtly “controlling” – watch in the initial interview to see if the candidate tries to dictate the direction of the interview and your questions. Do not mistake this for “leadership” either! If they begin this way, they will manage the church and congregation likewise. I would not suggest some form of control is not necessary, however, over-riding the free-will of God’s people is something He doesn’t do. No one He sends will do that which He does not with free will.
2. Demonstrates insecurity – any Pastor God sends will be secure in the knowledge God is in control. This results, at least for me, in a sense of personal security in Him (and not in me). An insecure in God's supply type leader lacks faith and has thereby disqualified themselves from leading. If they are obviously “arrogant” as well, they are equally unqualified biblically.
3. Lack of candor while interviewing – you must get answers, and satisfying answers, to every question you ask. Do not allow these men to dominate the interview through mis-direction, subject changing, and quoting scripture “out of turn.” These are tricks to mislead you and blatant dishonesty. God has you in this position, in this season, for a purpose so be faithful to it.
Calling a New Pastor Post Hire Duties
There are many things that you could say to a newly hired pastor to welcome them to their new position and to offer your support and encouragement. Their faith in Jesus Christ has yielded the fruit He would have in being selected as the new congregational leader.
Here are a few ideas:
"Welcome to the church! We are so glad to have you as our pastor, and we are looking forward to seeing all that God has in store for us as we work together".
"We are grateful for your passion for God and for your desire to serve and lead us. We are confident that you will be a blessing to our church and to the community".
"We know that being a pastor can be a challenging and demanding role, but we are here to support you and to walk alongside you as you serve. Please don't hesitate to let us know if there is anything we can do to help".
"We pray that God will bless you and your family as you begin this new chapter in your ministry. May He give you wisdom, strength, and discernment as you lead us forward".
"We are excited to see what God will do through you and through our church as we seek to follow Him and to share His love with others. Let's work together to build up the body of Christ and to make a positive impact in our community. "
These just scratch the surface of course. However, do not do so to be "nice". Jesus Christ teaches us to love one another: "It is by your love one for another that the world will know you are my disciples." (John 13:35)
After this, it is time to serve the newly hired Shepherd. Here are some ideas on how to do so:
1. Pray for them: One of the most important ways to serve a pastor is to pray for them regularly. Lift them up before God, asking for wisdom, strength, and guidance as they lead the church. 2. Get to know them: Take the time to get to know the pastor and their family. Invite them over for a meal or coffee, or spend some time talking with them about their interests and passions. 3. Be a listener: A pastor has a lot on their plate, and they may need someone to talk to from time to time. Offer a listening ear and a safe, non-judgmental space for them to share their thoughts and feelings. 4. Help with practical tasks: There are always practical tasks that need to be done around the church, and you can offer to help with these things. This might involve things like setting up for events, running errands, or providing meals. 5. Serve in the church: Find ways to get involved in the church and to serve alongside the pastor. This could involve joining a ministry team or helping to lead a small group. 6. Encourage and support them: Let the pastor know that you are praying for them and that you are grateful for their leadership. Encourage them when they are feeling down, and offer words of support and appreciation whenever you can.
Duties a New Pastor Should Begin ASAP
Once you have made the selection, and chased the “wolves” away, it is time to provide the new leader with some basic duties to begin ASAP. Here are a few things that a pastor might do after being hired:
Get to know the church and its members: It will be important for the pastor to take the time to get to know the people in the church and understand the culture and history of the congregation. This can involve meeting with individual members, attending church events, and learning about the various ministries and programs that are in place. Any personal issues in the hiring process should be settled through prayer and forgiveness.
Preach and teach: As a pastor, one of the primary responsibilities is to deliver sermons and teach the Bible to the church. This will involve preparing and delivering messages that are relevant, engaging, and faithful to the Word of God. Allow God to move through you an assure the congregation you are, in fact, Hid choice (if not some of their choices).
Lead worship: Depending on the size and structure of the church, the pastor may be responsible for leading worship services, either alone or with a team of musicians and other leaders. This will involve choosing music, leading prayers, and helping to create a sense of spiritual community and connection among the congregation.
Provide pastoral care: A pastor should be available to offer support, encouragement, and counsel to members of the church who are facing difficult situations or challenges. This may involve meeting with people one-on-one, visiting those who are sick or in the hospital, and providing emotional and spiritual support as needed.
Lead and manage the church: The pastor will also have some level of responsibility for the overall direction and operation of the church. This may involve working with a leadership team or board of directors to set goals and priorities, managing finances and resources, and making decisions that are in the best interests of the church.
Engage in outreach and evangelism: It will be important to share the love and message of Jesus with people outside of the church, and to help the church reach out to those in need in the community. This may involve organizing events, participating in evangelism training, and finding ways to serve and minister to those outside the church.
Your new Pastor will be a blessing IF the Holy Spirit led your team through the hiring process. If not, and as a currently serving Pastor, you need to buckle up because Satan will run wild in your church.