What To Expect From A New Pastor

Ephesians 4:7-16


Contemporary pastors are expected to have:

  • The entrepreneurial skills of Bill Gates
  • The counseling skills of Dr. Phil
  • The organizational abilities of Stephen Covey
  • The authenticity of Oprah
  • The compassion of Mother Teresa
  • The courage of William Wallace (Braveheart)
  • And the humor of Robin Williams.”[1]

A good pastor is hard to find!

Stats related to Pastors:[2]

  • 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • 50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
  • 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their roles.
  • 50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Almost 40% polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • 70% said the only time they spend studying the Bible is when they are preparing their sermons.

Stats related to Pastors’ Wives

  • 80% of pastors’ spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
  • 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
  • The majority of pastor’s wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

Overview of Ephesians

The first three chapters of Ephesians address the theological foundations of the Church.  Paul’s letters contain — Declarations and Commands, Theology and Ethics, Indicatives and Imperatives.

  • The Indicative: Informs us of an accomplished fact; it is what has already been declared about you. It’s related to our justification…
  • The Imperative: Is a command or direction – and is related to walking out the indicative and is related to our sanctification.

The second three chapters contain instruction, or input, on the practical outworking of the theological foundations of the Church.

Chap 4 contrasts our unity of being with our diversity of calling.

Vs 1-6 describe this unity as a oneness, or equality of Spirit, among all believers.

In v. 7 Paul turns a corner and begins to instruct the church regarding those who are to have authority within the Church…and this is where we begin our study today…


Today we asking the question: “What to expect from a new pastor?” from this text.  I’d like to highlight 5 characteristics from these 10 verses…

1.  A Man of Grace. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (v. 7)  

  • Not A measure, but THE measure.
  • Everyone of us has been given grace according to Christ’s measure.  Every church needs a pastor who understands this concept.
  • Grace, here, is not speaking of the grace that saves us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace in this context is God’s impartation of ability to accomplish God’s will (imperative grace not indicative grace), specifically as it relates to ministry within the Church.
  • Churches, this church, needs a pastor who understands that the grace of God, without measure, is available for our sanctification…

2. A Team Player.  And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers (v. 11) ‘Ascension Gifts’

  • Jesus was THE Apostle, THE Prophet, THE Evangelist, THE Pastor, and THE Teacher – and when He ascended into heaven He sent us His Holy Spirit as well as multiplying leadership of the Church into team ministry – a plurality of leaders (plurality means plural, or more than one).
  • A man who understands who he is and who he is not.
  • Apostle – Sent one
  • Prophet – Discernment (telescope)
  • Evangelist – A missional heart for the lost
  • Pastor – A shepherd’s heart
  • Teacher – A passion for God’s Word (microscope)

 3. An Equipper (vs. 12-13)

  • Greek word: katartismos, which means to adjust (as in a carburetor) or to mend.
  • Too repair and prepare God’s people.
  • Equippers set up systems that lead people to maturity.  How do we define maturity?
  • Unity of the faith
  • Knowledge of the Son of God
  • (A mature man)
  • Measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ (always room for growth – we never arrive this side of heaven).
  • D.L. Moody had an equipping perspective: He once said that he would rather put a thousand men to work than do the work of a thousand men.

4. A Man Who Will Speak the Truth In Love (v. 15)

  • Truth – A passion for God’s Truth…
  • Love – A shepherd’s heart…

5.  A Man Who Builds Unity Through Understanding Diversity (“Whole Body” thinker…) (v. 16)

  • Systems thinker.  Consider the human body…
  • Disease vs. Dis-ease…a systems issue
  • Unity is not a goal, it’s a fruit…

CONCLUSION  — What is a pastor looking for in you?

1. A congregation whose members live their lives as active, intentional followers of Jesus Christ. (Philip­pians 2:2-3):

2. Here’s what I always ask for from church leaders:

  • Humble
  • Own your own issues
  • Team player

3. Ask God everyday to give you His heart for lost and broken people. Jesus never says to the poor, “Go find the church,” but He says to those of us in the church, “Go out and find the poor, lost, sick, and broken hearted” and bring them to the church.

Besides this, consider the following three specific sugges­tions to build your pastor up and increase the fruitfulness of SBF’s ministry.

a. Pray for him every day. Write it down so you don’t forget. And don’t just say, “God bless the pastor.” Be specific. Pray for his health, his messages, his family, his flaws and weaknesses. Put yourself in his place and try to feel with him as you pray.

b. Go out of your way to communicate gracious words of encouragement. Don’t lie or embellish, but seek to identify encouraging attributes.  Write him a note on the registration card, send a thank you note or email; call him up on the phone. Get him alone sometime, look him right in the face, and say, “I appreciate your work and I am praying for you every day.” Don’t be satisfied with platitudes at the door after Sunday services.

c. Speak truth in love. No one is completely satisfied with his or her pastor. The reason is that all people are imperfect. Some people never seem to learn this and hop from church to church in search of the flawless pastor. That’s a hopeless endeavor. It is far better to find a church where you feel at home and to consider it your life­long responsibility to help the pastor grow. Everyone would like to change something about his or her pastor, but how many of us have devoted ourselves to earnest prayer about our pastor’s areas of growth and development? And how many of us have spent sufficient time in prayer and substantive encouragement, so that when it is time to share a concern that it is sincerely spoken in love (Eph 3:15).

[1] Kara Powell, quoted in The Church in Transition.

[2] LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention: 2010.

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