what qualifies a man for the pastorate
I originally wrote a version of this post over a year ago (for another website), when three close friends and I were actively seeking God about how we were supposed to respond to God’s call to the ministry. This is something that I need to continually remind myself of, especially in this season of intentional preparation for ministry in the local church.
What ultimately qualifies someone for the pastorate? Is it an MDiv? Sound position papers on hot theological topics? The ability to preach? The respect of the congregation? A strong desire? Age and experience? While all of these things are good, they are not ultimately what qualifies someone for the pastorate. At the root, the question should be who, not what, qualifies a man for the pastorate.
It is God who qualifies a pastor. When a man aspires to, qualifies, and takes up a pastoral office, it is not because of how holy or skilled he is. Rather, like all of existence, it is about how big and glorious God is. God chooses to use one of his sheep to shepherd the flock, ministering His Word through a sinful clump of dust. God takes a God-hating individual, who is justly under His wrath and headed towards hell, and God makes this man a pastor. God puts a desire for eldership in this man’s heart and gives him sound thinking about God, His Word, the Church, and the world. God sparks in this man an unquenchable passion for God and His people. God puts a burning in this man’s heart to preach the Word, so that he can do no else. God makes this man a true shepherd to his own wife and children, making their home a sanctuary of worship. God opens up opportunities for this man to gain experience and training in the local church, and God places recognizable authority in him and keeps him humble. God calls this man to the pulpit of a church to shepherd a particular body of believers. God sustains this man in every trial of the ministry, laboring through him as a testimony of Christ’s servant leadership. Pastoring is the work of God through fallen flesh, just like any God glorifying work. God alone qualifies a man for the pastorate, and nothing else. It is important for us to remember this and be humbled by it as we aspire to such an awesome and impossible task.
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Tags: elder, God, m.div., master of divinity, ministry, pastor, pastorate, preach, preparation, qualifications