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Reimar A.C. Schultze

Past Issues of the Call To Obedience

In Search of Ministerial Standards

"In Search of Ministerial Standards Conclusion (Part 6)"

by Pastor Reimar A. C. Schultze

With this article we come to the end of a series of messages on Ministerial Standards.  Here are some of the subjects I dealt with in case you want to get copies:

 1. The Necessity of Ministerial Standards

2. The Minister and His Doctrines

3. The Minister and the Holy Spirit

4. The Minister and His Mission

5. The Minister and His Disciplines

Just as I was ready to write on a new subject, I received a letter from a saint who not only had had many pastors in 85 years, but also had seven in her family and had written about “The Perfect Pastor” for one of them. I felt impressed to send it to you.

The Perfect Pastor

1. One who looks like a preacher - who wears a suit in the pulpit and when visiting in the hospital.  (Workdays are exceptions, of course.) He hands are clean, shoes polished, breath sweet.  This isn’t funny - people notice.

2.  One who acts like a preacher - humble, but not expecting to be “one of the gang” or a “pal” to his flock.  He has the respect of everyone in town. One who does not insist upon being called by his first name. He has earned the title “Pastor” or “Reverend.”

3.  One who is not too proud to openly admit to his congregation that he feels needy or weak and may not have all the answers.

4. One who is compassionate - he can sometimes laugh and sometimes cry. He hurts with his flock, is tender and gentle.  He listens well.

5. One whom we can see has been with Jesus not long ago.

6. One who is more interested in his calling than his hobby, fixing his house, or television.

7.  One who doesn’t get “thick” (close) with one parishioner to the exclusion of others.

8.  One who has learned to cast his cares upon the Lord (who always comes through). He is just as cheerful with few in the services as many. He is not jealous of or threatened by another man’s charisma, success or enmity.

9.   One who comes prepared to services - he has at least some idea of what to preach about, (leaving room for further leading of the Holy Ghost). One who is not lazy, and feels that he must answer to God.

10. One who never bawls out his people or lines them up. (Does not scold mercilessly.)

11. One who makes it obvious he loves his people and is grateful for their prayers, gifts, help, loyalty, and support.

12. One who loves his wife and children and lets it be known.  (I’m taking faithfulness for granted, of course!)

13. One whose face is clear and open and who can look anyone in the eye.

In Search of Congregational Standards

Now, having written five articles on ministerial standards, I would be remiss if I were not to close this series with some comments on congregational standards.  Sad as it is, meaningful congregational standards for the laity are almost totally absent in most congregations in America

On the average, if a layman makes a confession of faith and is baptized, he is entered into the church membership role; no matter whether he is a perpetual late-comer to church services, whether he tithes or not, whether he spends more time with his television than with his God, whether he does or does not witness for Jesus, whether he is faithful to his wife or not, or if he misses church service after church service for the slightest distraction, and the list goes on and on. 

One of the first discoveries made by almost any new pastor is that the average layman’s expectations of the minister and his family are sky high, while the layman revolts if any standard is laid upon him.   In other words, he has a double standard: a high one for the pastor and practically none for himself.

This fact is one of the most painful aspects of the minister’s life is that, as a whole, people do not and will not obey God. They want just enough Christianity to make it to heaven, but not all of it. Paul lived with this heart-breaking pain daily: “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind and with many tears…. By the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears…. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears”  (Acts 20:19, 31; 2 Cor. 2:4).

Paul had also learned to rejoice. This is a process; it is a crucifixion, a suffering and dying for the pastor to learn to balance his tears over the disobedience of his sheep with the great joy of the Lord. There is also the joy that comes from seeing parishioners emerge from the cocoon of lukewarmness to become dynamic followers of the Lord Jesus.   So Paul had tears for most of the churches, but he called the Philippians his “joy and crown” (Phil. 4:1).   In other words the Philippian believers made up in joy what was lacking in the rest of the churches.

So dear layman, why don’t you become a Philippian Christian, a “crown and joy” in your pastor’s life?  No one except the pastor himself can tell you how much it will mean. Here are some Biblical standards for lay people.

Laity Standards That Will Help the Pastor

1. You are to esteem him highly, guard his reputation and follow his faith (1 Thes. 5:12, 13; Heb. 13:7, 17; 1 Tim. 5:7, 10; Heb. 13:7).  The best explanation of the shepherd to sheep or pastor to layman relationship is found in the Books of Moses. After Genesis, the bulk of Exodus and Numbers covering nearly 40 years and 76 chapters forcefully drive home the one indisputable fact: If you don’t regard your God-ordained pastor highly, your chances of getting to the Promised Land (the victorious Christian life) are zero.

Of the adult population of the 1½ million Jews who passed through the Red Sea , only two crossed the Jordan (Caleb and Joshua). Moses didn’t get to cross over until 1,500 years later at the Mount of Transfiguration because he complained once about his congregation.    All the rest of the believers became “walking carcasses” before they died as unbelievers (Heb. 3:17). The root issue that robbed the Israelites of Canaan (heaven) is this: they did not esteem their pastor as God’s representative.   Rather, they complained and murmured about him. They felt it was all right to complain about Moses because he was “just another human” like them.  Friend, get this deep into your heart: God takes complaints about His ordained servants as a personal assault on and an insult to Him who ordained them. Jesus picked up this theme repeatedly.  He said that Israel , having rejected the prophets, had rejected God.  Of His apostles (his sent ones), he said, “If you receive them, it is the same as if you receive Me” (Matt. 10:40).  In other words, the way you treat your pastor is the way     you treat Jesus.

2.  You are to pray for and with your pastor (Rom. 15:30).   Here again, look at Moses. What determined the outcome of Israel ’s battle with the Amalekites is this: Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses in prayer (Ex. 17:11-13).   If you regularly pray for and with your pastor, the enemy will be defeated.   If you stay together with him you will end up in heaven with him as those precious Philippian Christians did with Paul.

3. Support your pastor financially (Matt. 10:10, 1 Cor. 9:14, Gal. 6:6).   Look at all these passages carefully.   Remember again, by your supporting your pastor, you are supporting Jesus.  Any help to him is a help to Jesus and His cause (Matt. 10:42).

Indeed most churches have few, if any, requirements to be a church member; but my friend, if you want to be in the body of Christ, you have privileges and obligations towards your shepherd that you cannot escape.   Now you know what they are.